Apart from maybe just the NFL Draft, free agency is the most exciting offseason event of the calendar year for football fans. As some players depart, teams get into bidding wars with some of the top free agents on the market. This past year under the direction of Omar Khan, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed players like Isaac Seumalo, Patrick Peterson, Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, and Nate Herbig.
Some teams are in the business of spending much more money in free agency than others. This year, high-profile players like Kirk Cousins, Chris Jones, Mike Evans, Leonard Williams, and Saquon Barkley (among many others) are set to have expiring contracts. Unless teams end up slapping the franchise tag on some of these players, they will be hitting the open market next offseason.
With so much of a team's success predicated on how strong their roster is, free agency is a very important time of the year for NFL clubs. So when does the next free agency period start?
When does NFL free agency begin in 2024?
The next free agency period technically starts on March 13th, 2024 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. However, teams are now legally allowed to actively negotiate contracts beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time two days prior on March 11th, according to Football Operations.
In addition to beginning the bidding war on unrestricted free agents, this is also when teams can officially make trades again with one another. These trades and free-agent contracts can be negotiated on March 11th and 12th, but they do not become official until pen is put to paper on the 13th.
In 2022, we saw the Detroit Lions snatch CB Cameron Sutton from the Steelers before Pittsburgh retaliated by signing veteran Patrick Peterson. Omar Khan also filled holes at linebacker, offensive guard, and safety.
Occasionally, we see teams make a massive splash early in free agency. Much of a team's aggressiveness is determined by how much salary cap space they will have. The latest projected cap figures for each team in 2024 are available on Over the Cap.
The Pittsburgh Steelers aren't projected to have nearly as much money this coming offseason after spending big in 2023. Khan could work his magic to renegotiate contracts and free up additional cap space, but spending in free agency could be slim for this team in 2024.