The NFL's legal tampering period began at noon on Monday, which means teams are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with players who will become unrestricted free agents at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
That means Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell is surely already on the phone with numerous agents -- expected to be the ones representing linebacker Bruce Irvin, defensive lineman Malik Jackson and free safety Eric Weddle, among others. The Jaguars have the most salary cap space available (approximately $88 million) and should be aggressive in their pursuit of free agents.
Some other things to consider as we creep closer and closer to 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday:
* The Jaguars and tight end Marcedes Lewis have not yet reached an agreement that will keep Lewis with the team that drafted him in the first round in 2006. Caldwell said at the NFL combine last month that he hoped to work something out with Lewis before free agency began. At that point the sides had not yet had substantive talks regarding terms, but a league source indicated the salary offer would likely be similar to the one Lewis agreed to last April. Lewis dropped his salary cap figure from $8.2 million (which would have been the third-highest on the team) to $3.85 million and earned $2.65 million in 2015.
* The release of left guard Zane Beadles last week makes it apparent the Jaguars are going to reconfigure their players at the line of scrimmage. How they do it depends on whether they are able to sign center Alex Mack, whom they pursued two years ago. If they do, then Brandon Linder and A.J. Cann will be the guards. If not, then it would be reasonable for the Jaguars to pursue a guard in free agency. Kelechi Osemele is regarded as the top guard available, but it has been reported he wants to be the highest-paid guard in the league. That means the Jaguars would have to offer him more than $8 million per year, which is what the Cardinals' Mike Iupati makes.
* Quarterback Chad Henne's new two-year, $8 million deal includes $4.5 million guaranteed, all of which comes in 2016. He will receive a $3 million roster bonus on March 14, and his $1.5 million salary in 2016 is guaranteed.
* Speaking of roster bonuses, the Jaguars are scheduled to pay out $6.15 million on March 14 to five players. In addition to Henne, defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, defensive end Tyson Alualu, defensive tackle Roy Miller, and running back Toby Gerhart are due bonuses. Gerhart is due $500,000, so if he's not part of the Jaguars' plans going forward he will be released before 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Linebacker Paul Posluszny is due a roster bonus based on the number of games he spends on the 53-man roster.