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Key Dates for 2018 NFL Offseason

Posted Jan 2, 2018

Take a look at the key dates for the 2018 NFL offseason, including the Senior Bowl, Scouting Combine, start of free agency and NFL Draft.


As the calendar turns to 2018, take a look at the key dates for the NFL offseason, including the Senior Bowl, Scouting Combine, start of free agency and NFL Draft.

January 1: Clubs may begin signing their own free agent players for the 2018 season.

January 15: Deadline for college players who are underclassmen to apply for special eligibility. A list of players who are accepted into the NFL Draft will be sent to clubs on January 19.

January 20: East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla. and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

January 27: Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala.

January 28: NFL Pro Bowl, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.

January 31: Deadline for NFL clubs to try out and negotiate with CFL players whose 2017 contracts are due to expire at 12 noon, New York time, on February 13.

February 5: Waiver system begins for 2018.

February 13: Beginning at 12 noon, New York time, NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose 2017 CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2018 season or who have an option for the 2018 season are not eligible to be signed.

February 20: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

February 27-March 5: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.

March 6: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

March 12-14: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2017 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

March 14: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2018 on all players who have option clauses in their 2017 contracts.

March 14: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

March 14: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2017 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

March 14: Top 51 begins. All clubs must be under the 2018 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.

March 14: All 2017 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

March 14: The 2018 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

March 14: Trading period for 2018 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2017 contracts.

March 25-28: Annual League Meeting, Orlando, Fla.

April 16: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 20: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.

April 26-28: 2018 NFL Draft, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas.

May 4-7: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 8: Deadline for prior club to send “May 8 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a player contract with a club by July 23 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 the 10th weekend of the regular season, at 4:00 p.m., New York time, only with his prior club.

May 11-14: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 14: Rookie Football Development Programs begin.

June 1: Deadline for prior club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Restricted Free Agents who received a qualifying offer for a right of first refusal only in order for such player to be subject to the CBA’s “June 15 Tender” provision.

June 2: For any player removed from the club’s roster or whose contract is assigned via waivers or trade on or after June 2, any unamortized signing bonus amounts for future years will be included fully in team salary at the start of the 2019 League Year.

June 15: Deadline for club to withdraw qualifying offer to Restricted Free Agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting “June 15 Tender” of one-year contract at 110 percent of the player’s prior-year Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior-year contract carried forward unchanged).

July 16: At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2018 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.


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