Nov 18, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (96) on the sidelines against the Houston Texans in the third quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Jaguars 43-37. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars Free Agency Timeline

Free agency is the next big thing in the offseason, so let’s take a peek at what’s down the pipeline for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the next couple weeks.  Here are some dates worth keeping in mind.

March 4 – Franchise Tag Deadline

  • This one won’t be a big deal for Jaguars fans because the team won’t be using its franchise tag on any players this offseason.  Only a handful of teams are likely to use it and even then it’s rare that the player isn’t overpaid as a result.

March 9 – Free Agent Negotiations Begin

  • The new rules regarding NFL free agency allows teams to negotiate with players and their agents three days before free agency officially begins.  Basically, it’s condoning a common practice already.

March 12 – Qualifying Offer Deadline @ 4:00 pm

  • For teams with restricted free agents, this is the time when they must submit their qualifying offers for their restricted free agents and tender minimum salary offers to their exclusive rights free agents.  This allows teams the right of first refusal should another team come looking for one of their restricted free agents.  The most intriguing restricted free agent for the Jaguars is wide receiver Jordan Shipley.  Shipley was a strong contributor in a revolving door at receiver during 2012.

March 12 – Free Agency Opens @ 4:00 pm

  • Expiring contracts are officially void at 4:00 pm on March 12.  At that point, unrestricted free agents are allowed to pursue new contracts with any team and choose to sign what he wishes.  At the same time, teams also have to make sure that their top 51 cap hits remain below the new cap limit of $123 million.  Notable Jaguars free agents include cornerbacks Derek Cox, Rashean Mathis, and William Middleton, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, and outside linebacker Daryl Smith.

March 12 – Trading Opens

  • Trading also opens on March 12.  Whether it’s a big deal like Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs or just swapping some picks to get the next big quarterback.  The Jags are open to trading their #2 overall selection and expect interest for their #33 overall selection in this year’s draft.  The latter is expected to be more desirable to teams.

– Luke N. Sims

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