Important 2017 NFL Offseason Dates

Even with the NFL in the midst of the postseason, the offseason is already underway, as five of the six coaching vacancies around the league have now been filled. As such, it’s worth looking ahead to the NFL’s offseason calendar for an idea of which dates will be more important during the next several weeks and months. With teams filling out their coaching staffs and preparing to make changes to rosters, there are plenty of days to circle on the calendar.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the NFL’s key offseason dates and deadlines:


  • January 16
    • Deadline for college underclassmen to declare for the 2017 NFL draft.
  • January 28
    • Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
  • January 29
    • Assistant coaches for teams in the Super Bowl – who have previously interviewed for a head coaching job – can interview a second time with the club no later than the Sunday before the Super Bowl.


  • February 6
    • 2017 waiver system begins.
  • February 14
    • Teams may sign CFL players whose 2016 contracts have expired.
  • February 15

    • First day for teams to designate a franchise or transition player.
  • February 28-March 6
    • The NFL scouting combine will be held in Indianapolis.


  • March 1
    • As of 3pm CT, teams can no longer designate a franchise or transition player.
  • March 7
    • First day for teams to contact agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents on March 9. Free agent contracts can’t be signed yet, but informal agreements can be reached.
  • March 9
    • The 2017 league year begins, and free agency opens. By 3pm CT, 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 2015 salary cap. Trades can be made and free agents can be signed after 3pm CT.
  • March 26-29
    • The NFL owners meetings will be held in Phoeniz, Arizona.


  • April 21
    • Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
  • April 26
    • Deadline for previous club to exercise right of first refusal (ie. match offer sheets) on restricted free agents.
  • April 28-30
    • The NFL draft will be held in Philadelphia.


  • May 2
    • Teams exercising fifth-year options on 2014 first-round picks must do so prior to May 2.

This post is an edited version of a previous entry by PFR editor emeritus Luke Adams.

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