The new league year begins Wednesday, March 14 at 4:00 pm Eastern Time. This is when all of the reported trades we’ve been hearing about can be made official. It is also the time when free agents can sign new contracts with the team of their choice.
For years, teams and players would agree to massive contracts just minutes after the arrival of the new league year. It was obvious that some form of under the table dealing was taking place, so the league’s fix was to simply make this once hidden communication legal.
Now, two days before the new league year are declared a “legal tampering” period, allowing the teams, players, and their representatives to converse and partake in contract negotiations, with deals becoming official two days later.
In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in NFL off-season activity, including a major uptick in trades being agreed to, which makes things more exciting for fans and fantasy players. This off-season was already one that had fans eager thanks to the stacked free agent class, but the continued increase of trades and other transactions prior to the beginning of the new league year has been sweet icing on the free agency cake.
Let’s take a look at a summary of the moves that have already taken place this off-season. Remember, any trades reported here or elsewhere are not final until this Wednesday.
Alex Smith, QB WAS
Even before the NFL season concluded with the Super Bowl, the off-season was underway for others. The Chiefs agreed to send long-time starting quarterback Alex Smith to the Redskins, which had wide-ranging effects on other players for both teams. The move signaled the end of Kirk Cousins’ Redskins career, locking in his status as the top free agent available this off-season. It also gave a huge boost to second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who now assumes the starting role for the Chiefs. The Redskins then gave Smith a four-year, $94 million extension. This was the beginning of a wild off-season.