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Arizona Cardinals and NFL free agency as it (sort of) opens

Teams may contact player agents starting at noon Eastern.


The true beginning of the NFL free agency period is on Tuesday March 11, but on Saturday the first part pf free agency begins. Teams will be able to contact player agents.

Under new free agency laws, there is a "legal tampering" period. Starting at noon Eastern on Saturday, NFL teams are allowed to contact player agents and negotiate, but not sign any contracts. Players who will become free agents are not allowed at team facilities until actual free agency begins on Tuesday March 11 at 4PM Eastern.

The salary cap is set at $133 million for the 2014 season.

The Arizona Cardinals had about $17.9 million in salary cap space, but that was before the announcement that the team had signed tight end John Carlson.

The team has a few restricted free agents -- Jake Ballard, Alfonso Smith, Marcus Benard and Ronald Talley. Arizona has until March 11 to offer a tender.

The maximum tender has a compensation level $3.113 million, which includes a first-round pick if another team signs that player to another offer sheet and the Cardinals refuse to match. The second-level tender has a compensation level of $2.187 million with a second-round pick and the third, and final tender, is the original round compensation with a $1.431 million tender. Original round is based on where that player was originally drafted into the NFL -- if he's an undrafted free agent, the original team receives no compensation if that players signs an offer sheet and the original team doesn't match.

Potential target areas for the Cardinals include left tackle, safety, tight end and more.