NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell - Photo by: Getty Images
The finale of the 2016-2017 NFL season came and went crowing the New England Patriots champions of the football world for at least a calendar year. But now that you’ve had a few weeks to digest that, it’s time to get right back into the swing of things looking ahead to the start of the 2017 offseason.
We seems to read the same questions all the time asking when free agency starts or when the NFL Combine begins, so we’ve put together for you an extensive list of important date to remember formnow until the first game of the 2017 NFL season.
NFL Regional Combine | Houston, Texas.
NFL Regional Combine (*Kicker/Punter Combine) | Washington, D.C.
February 26 – March 6
Official NFL Scouting Combine | Indianapolis, Indiana.
Deadline for teams to designate Franchise Tag or Transition Players at 4:00 p.m. EST.
NFL Regional Combines | Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Teams can begin to contact and enter into contract negotiations with agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents on March 9. However, no contracts can officially be signed until 4:00 p.m. EST on March 9.
The 2017 league year and free agency period begins at 4:00 p.m. EST.
Teams must exercise options for 2017 on all players who have option clauses in their 2016 contracts before the 4:00 p.m. deadline.
Teams must officially submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents before the 4:00 p.m. EST deadline.
Teams must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2016 contracts and who have fewer than three seasons of free agent eligibility.
All teams must be under the 2017 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m. EST.
All 2016 player contracts expire at 4:00 p.m. EST.
Trading period for 2017 begins after expiration of all 2016 contracts at 4:00 p.m. EST.
NFL Regional Combines | Metairie, Louisiana.
Annual League Meeting | Phoenix, Arizona.
All teams that have hired a new head coach after the end of the 2016 regular season may begin their offseason workouts.
Teams with returning head coaches may begin their offseason workouts.
Though the 2017 NFL Schedule has no exact release date right now, the schedules are usually released during the 3rd week in April between Tuesday and Thursday. The schedules will be announced on NFL Network at approximately 8:00 p.m. EST.
Deadline date for Restricted Free Agents to sign their offer sheets.
2017 NFL Draft | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Immediately following the final selection, all Undrafted Free Agents become available to be contacted and signed by any team as soon as they would like.
Teams can choose to hold their one three-day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
Final deadline for teams to send their May 9 Tender to their unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If a player in this situation does not sign by July 22 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp (whichever is later), he may negotiate or sign a Player Contract from that date until the Tuesday following Week 10 of the regular season.
Rookie Football Development Programs begin.
NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Selected incoming players (typically first and/or second round picks) must be granted permission by their teams to participate. These players would be unavailable for offseason workouts, OTA days, and minicamps during these days.
NFL Spring League Meeting | Charlotte, North Carolina.
Deadline date for any player who was given the Franchise Tag to sign a long-term deal. After this date, players designated the Franchise Tag can only sign a one-year contract with their team for the 2017 season – this contract cannot be extended until after the team’s final regular season game.
Teams may open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players a week before the earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players.
Veteran players – who are players with at least one season – can report to preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days before their team’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.
Signing Period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents whose May 9 Tender was issued by a previous team. After this date, until the Tuesday after Week 10 of the regular season, the previous team has exclusive negotiating rights.
Hall of Fame Game, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium | Canton, Ohio.
Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium | Canton, Ohio.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
Sweet, I’ll be back in the states for the combine. SWFL all the time to watch everyday = happy me
March and April are very busy months, compared to January-February, for fans of non-playoff teams. Hopefully next year we’ll not have a dead January to endure! Should be interesting!
There’s a little more anticipation of better times ahead for us Bucs fans this off season. It just felt different this past season. “The future is so bright we have to wear shades” even if they are a bit of a rose colored tint.
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