ZMI ALPHA:Why Alex Smith, the Jets and the trade market matter – The Athletic

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ZMI ALPHA:Why Alex Smith, the Jets and the trade market matter – The Athletic

The financial details of the 2021 NFL salary cap are set, and now the real fun of the offseason can formally begin.

Here’s what you need to know as the free-agent market opens for business this week:

Start your negotiations

Let’s not be naive to think that teams and agents haven’t already been talking about potential free-agent signings. While tampering with players still under contract with other teams is against NFL rules, teams and agents have known for weeks (or longer) who will become an unrestricted free agent on March 17. 

In a typical year, many of these conversations between teams and agents happen discreetly in person at the NFL combine. Those conversations have been more complicated this year, several agents told The Athletic.

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