The most important date on the NFL’s 2014 calendar is just around the corner, with Super Sunday now less than a week away. But while the 2013/14 season will come to an end after the Seahawks and Broncos play on Sunday night, that doesn’t mean February 2 is the last day worth circling on the calendar until the summer. In the coming weeks and months, there are plenty of dates to keep an eye on, as NFL teams make roster decisions and prepare for next season.
Here’s a breakdown of a few of the NFL’s key offseason dates:
February 17: First day for teams to designate a franchise or transition player.
February 19-25: The NFL scouting combine will be held in Indianapolis.
March 8: First day for teams to contact agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents on March 11. Free agent contracts can’t be signed yet, but informal agreements can be reached.
March 11: The 2014 league year begins, and free agency opens. By 3:00 pm central time, teams must make decisions on player options, submit qualifying offers to restricted free agents, submit minimum tenders to exclusive rights free agents, and be under the 2014 salary cap. Trades can be made after 3:00pm CT.
March 23-26: The NFL owners meetings will be held in Orlando.
May 2: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
May 7: Deadline for previous club to exercise right of first refusal (ie. match offer sheets) on restricted free agents.
May 8-10: The NFL draft will be held in New York.
May 19-21: The NFL spring meeting will be held in Atlanta.
June 2: Deadline for previous club to submit a June 1 tender to its unsigned unrestricted free agents, and to submit a June 1 tender to its unsigned restricted free agents who haven’t signed an offer sheet.
June 16: Deadline for teams to withdraw qualifying offers to their restricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights via the June 15 tender.
July 15: Deadline for teams to work out multiyear contracts with free agents designated as franchise players.
July 22: Signing period ends for unrestricted free agents who received a June 1 tender, and for transition players with outstanding tenders. The player’s previous club retains exclusive negotiating rights from this date until Week 10 of the regular season.