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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Free Agency Negotiation Period Begins Monday at Noon

Players who are pending unrestricted free agents will have 52 hours for their agents to contact team representatives about potential deals before the actual start of free agency on Wednesday


The NFL's 2024 free agency period kicks off this Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. ET, but the action will actually begin 52 hours prior to that opening bell.

Prior to this week, players with expiring contracts could only speak to their own clubs about new deals. Beginning at noon on Monday, all other teams can begin contacting representatives of those potential free agents and can even enter into contract negotiations. As a result, there will inevitably be a handful of big-name signings announced not long after the new league year begins on Wednesday.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have 15 players for whom this two-day period is relevant. That group of pending unrestricted free agents is headlined by linebacker Lavonte David and kicker Chase McLaughlin…though notably not wide receiver Mike Evans and quarterback Baker Mayfield, both of whom got new deals with the Bucs before the start of free agency. Since All-Pro safety Antoine Winfield Jr. received the non-exclusive franchise tag from the Buccaneers, he technically will have an opportunity to negotiate with other teams, but the 52-hour pre-free agency period does not apply to tagged players.

The Buccaneers hope to use the franchise tag to extend their negotiating period with Winfield in an effort to get a new long-term deal in place. Tampa Bay has also already checked off two of the biggest names on their prospective free agent list with the agreements with Evans and Mayfield. However, the NFL futures of such players as David, McLaughlin, linebacker Devin White and guard Aaron Stinnie remain unsettled as free agency approaches. Here is a full list of the Bucs' potential free agents when the offseason began.

The Buccaneers are striving to keep together a good portion of the core of a roster that has led the franchise to three straight division titles for the first time in team history. As was the case in 2023, they are doing so under tight salary cap restrictions stemming from the "all-in" contracts they engineered during Tom Brady's tenure with the team, as they tried to follow up their Super Bowl LV victory with additional championships.

Those efforts will continue apace this week, with potential competition from other teams entering the picture on Monday. The Bucs, of course, have a plan as they begin the next phase of the 2024 offseason.

"We have some constraints – there is the cap and all of those things," said General Manager Jason Licht. "We've been planning on this for a while. It isn't something that you wake up and decide to do. It's the plan that you have. It's something that, luckily, we have great people working in this organization that are helping us through it."

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