2014 NFL offseason schedule: Free agency begins March 11

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL has announced the league calendar for the 2014 offseason, which means we now know when free agency starts.

The NFL has announced the league calendar for the 2014 offseason, which includes when the actual league year will start, when free agency will begin and the exact dates for the NFL Draft.

The NFL has determined that the 2014 season officially starts on March 11 at 4 p.m. ET, which means that is when teams can begin signing free agents to contracts. That is also the time in which NFL teams will be required to be in compliance with the NFL's salary cap, which is projected to be around $126.3 million, a slight increase from last season's $123 million.

For the second consecutive year, clubs will be permitted to contact the agents who represent impending free agents as of 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 8, but no one can actually sign a new contract. It just means the "midnight deals" will now actually be legal, rather than tampering.

The 2014 draft will take place from May 8 to May 10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The 2013 draft was from April 25 through April 27, but the NFL was required to push back the draft because of a scheduling conflict at the venue.

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