Important NFL Off-Season Dates to Know For The Detroit Lions

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Get Ready To Follow The NFL Off-Season With These Important Dates

Now that the Superbowl is complete, the NFL is in its off-season grind. Football may not start back up until August, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t going on from February until August. There are many things happening over these months that Lions fans need to pay attention to. Check out the list below of important dates that are going to happen from now until August in the NFL that you should look out for.

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  • February 25-26 – NFL Regional Combines, Inova Sports Performance Center, Washington, D.C. The 26th is the kicker and punter combine.
  • February 28 – March 6 – First Day of NFL Combine
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March 1 – Deadline for teams to designate Franchise or Transition Players before 4 p.m. New York time.

March 4 – NFL Regional Combines, Minnesota Vikings Practice Facility, Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

March 7-9 – Teams are allowed to contact and begin negotiations with agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents by March 9, 4 p.m. New York time. No contracts can be executed until the time stated above.

March 9 – Before 4 p.m. New York Time, teams must exercise options for 2017 on all players who have option clauses in their 2016 contracts. Teams must also submit their qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with contracts that are expiring, and to whom they desire to retain First Refusal/Compensation. Also, teams must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2016 contracts and have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit. Finally Top-51 Begins. All teams must be under the 2017 salary cap before 4 p.m. New York time.

March 9 – All 2016 player contracts expire at 4 p.m. New York Time. The 2017 league year and free agency period begins at 4 p.m. New York time. Trading period for the 2017 season begins at 4 p.m. New York Time. Teams will get a personnel notice, including of all the transactions that took place from 4 p.m. New York time and 11:59:59 p.m. New York time as the first day of the league year will end.

March 11 – NFL Regional Combines, New Orleans Saints Training Facility, Metairie, Louisiana.

March 26-29 – NFL Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.

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April 3 – Teams that hired a new coach after the 2016 season may begin off-season workout programs.

April 17 – Clubs with returning head coaches may begin off-season workouts.

April 21 – Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.

April 27-29 – 2017 NFL Draft, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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May 5-8 – Teams may elect to hold their one three-day post-draft rookie mini camp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 9 – Deadline for prior team to send “May 9 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player hasn’t signed a contract with a team 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 the 10th weekend of the regular season at 4 p.m. New York time, only with his previous team.

May 12-15 – Teams may elect to hold their one three day post-draft rookie mini-camp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 15 – Rookie Football Development Programs begin.

May 18-21 – NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Invited Rookies, normally first and/or second round picks, must be permitted by their teams to attend. Players are unavailable for off-season workouts, OTA days and mini-camps during this period.

May 22-24 – NFL Spring League Meeting, Chicago, Illinois.

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June 1 – Deadline for prior team 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 as “June 15 Tender” provision.

June 2 – Any player removed from the team’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 2018 league year.

June 15 – Deadline for team to withdraw qualifying offer to Restricted Free Agents and retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting “June 15 Tender” or 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).

Late June/TBA – Rookie Transition Program to be held at individual teams. Attendance is mandatory for all rookie players.

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July 15 – At 4 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 only sign a one-year contract with his prior team for the 2017 season, and such contract can’t be extended until after the team’s last regular season game.

Mid July/TBA – Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the team’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players. Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or “injured players” may report to a team’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the team’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.

Veteran QB’s and injured players may be required to report to the team’s training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the team has already opened its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first-year players. A three day acclimation period will apply to players who are on the team’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who join the roster after that date may practice and play immediately after passing a physical.

July 22 – Signing Period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 9 Tender” was made by a prior team. After this date and until 4 p.m. New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior team has exclusive negotiating rights. Signing Period also ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders.

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August 3 – Hall of Fame Game, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio

August 5 – Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and share your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.