NFL Key Offseason Dates

Now that the NFL season has concluded, we get you up to speed on key dates on the NFL offseason calendar.

Does the NFL truly have an offseason, anymore? Not really.. While players, technically, have a couple of months off from football and on-field work, there are continuous dates regarding medical checks, contract negotiations, player scouting, and spring practices nearly every day of the year.

The biggest day of the NFL offseason is March 9th. That is the date on which the new league year begins, and along with it comes the beginning of free agency.

Below is a list of key dates to know, as the offseason is underway.

February 6: Waiver system begins for 2017 NFL season

February 11: NFL Regional Combine: Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Seattle, WA

February 15: NFL teams may begin designating Franchise or Transition players

February 28 – March 6: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

March 1: (4:00 PM ET) Deadline for teams to designate Franchise or Transition players

March 7 – March 9: “Legal Tampering Period,” NFL teams may begin contract negotiations with the agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents

March 9

Prior to 4:00 PM ET

  • NFL teams must exercise options for 2017 on any player with option clauses in their 2016 contracts
  • NFL teams must submit qualifying offers to players with expiring contracts who will become Restricted Free Agents to ensure team has Compensation or Right of First Refusal
  • NFL teams must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to players who will become Exclusive-Rights Free Agents (expiring contracts and fewer than 3 accrued seasons)

4:00 PM ET

  • All 2016 player contracts expire
  • 2017 NFL league year and free agency begin
  • Top-51 salary cap rule begins – only the 51 highest cap hits for each NFL team apply to the salary cap through the offseason
  • All teams must be under the salary cap for 2017
  • Trades are allowed for 2017

March 26-29: Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, AZ

April 3: NFL teams who hired new head coaches may begin offseason workout programs

April 17: NFL teams with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs

April 21: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets

April 27-29: 2017 NFL Draft, Philadelphia, PA

May 5-8: Rookie Minicamp weekend #1 – NFL teams may conduct a three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp (either Friday-Sunday or Saturday-Monday) for rookies and first-year players

May 9: Deadline for a “May 9 Tender” for Unrestricted Free Agents. Players receiving this tender from their prior team but not signing with any team prior to July 22 or the start of the first NFL training camp can only sign a contract with their prior team until Week 10.

May 12-15: Rookie Minicamp weekend #2 – NFL teams may conduct a three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp (either Friday-Sunday or Saturday-Monday) for rookies and first-year players

May 15: Rookie Football Development Programs begin

May 18-21: NFLPA Rookie Premiere – invited rookies must be allowed to attend.

May 22-23: Spring League Meeting, Chicago, IL

June 1: Deadline for NFL teams to send “June 1 Tender” to Restricted Free Agents who received qualifying offers in order to subject that player to “June 15 Tender” provision

June 2: Any player released, waived, or traded on or after this date will have any remaining signing bonus salary cap charges assigned to the team’s 2018 salary cap.

June 15: NFL teams may withdraw qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents and replace with “June 15 Tender”, equal to one year at 110% of previous year’s salary. Players then have exclusive negotiating rights with that team.

Late June: NFL teams host Rookie Transition Programs

July 15: (4:00 PM ET) Deadline for Franchise players to sign multi-year extensions. Following this deadline, a player can only sign the one-year Franchise tender.

July 20: Training Camps eligible to start

August 3: Hall of Fame Game (first preseason game)

 

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