When the clock strikes noon ET on Monday afternoon, phones are going to be ringing around the NFL.
The new league year begins on Wednesday, March 17, at 4:00 p.m. ET, bringing with it the start of unrestricted free agency. Teams can't sign players away from their competitors until that Wednesday deadline, but they have 52 hours to get everything into place if they wish to do so.
During that two-day period, contact is allowed between player agents and front-office members (but, notably, not coaches) and the two sides are allowed to negotiate potential contract terms. They cannot actually pull the trigger, however, until Wednesday at 4:00.
That Monday afternoon deadline is essentially when every team in the league loses its built-in advantage to re-sign its own pending free agents. The Buccaneers have a long list of players headed to free agency, but prior to Monday they were the only team allowed to negotiate with those men, including inside linebacker Lavonte David, who re-signed on Friday.
The Buccaneers also placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin last Wednesday, which makes it almost certain he will remain with the team for at least the 2021 season. However, other players from the team's Super Bowl LV core who were due to become free agents on Wednesday include outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Antonio Brown and kicker Ryan Succop.