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NFL Free agency schedule: Official start to signing period today

The official start to the NFL free agency signing period is this afternoon.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL's "legal tampering" period - which may end with several NFL teams, including the Miami Dolphins, in trouble for tampering - comes to a close today when the actual free agency period begins. Up until the 4pm ET start of free agency, teams have only been allowed to discuss "negotiating positions" with player representatives, with no official offer being made. We have all seen how well that has worked.

All across the league, those "negotiating positions" have resulted in players and teams coming to an agreement (the whole point of negotiating in the first place), with news leaking of imminent signings throughout the last few days. The league has stated it will investigate all of these apparent deals as potential violations of league rules, though how they prove that an offer was made rather than a "negotiating position" being expressed is unclear.

Whatever the case, the league moves from discussions of fictional poitions to real contracts this afternoon in what is sure to be another day of fast and furious activity all across the NFL map.

Today's 4pm ET mark also represents the official start of the 2015 year for the NFL, meaning trades can happen, as well as players can be released under the post-June 1 designation. The salary cap will also officially become the Top 51 version of the calculation, rather than accounting for all 53 players on the active roster and 10-man practice squad.

It will be a fun afternoon and evening today.