The NFL offseason is in full effect and next up on the calendar is the NFL Scouting Combine.
The NFL Scouting Combine runs from February 26-March 4 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, a time that ‘unofficially’ kicks things off for the year.
The official start of the 2019 NFL league year is March 13, but preparation for the season is well underway.
It’s a busy offseason after that, and the below timeline gives a clear picture of what is coming.
2019 National Football League Important Dates:
- February 19: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
- February 26-March 4: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
- March 5: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
- March 11-13: 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 2018 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 13.
- March 13: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2019 on all players who have option clauses in their 2018 contracts.
- March 13: 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 13: 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 2018 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.
- March 13: Top 51 Rule begins. All clubs must be under the 2019 Salary Cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.
- March 13: All 2018 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
- March 13: The 2019 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time. The first day of the 2019 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 13. 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 13.
- March 13: Trading period for 2019 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2018 contracts.
- March 24-27: Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
- April 1: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2018 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
- April 15: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
- April 19: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.
- April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft, Nashville, Tennessee.
- May 3-6: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
- May 7: Deadline for prior club to send “May 7 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a player contract with a club 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 4:00 p.m., New York time, only with his prior club.
- May 10-13: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
- May 13: Rookie Football Development Programs begin.
- May 16-19: NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Invited rookies (typically, first and/or second-round selections) must be permitted by their respective clubs to attend. Such players are unavailable for offseason workouts, OTA days, and minicamps during this period.
- May 20-22: Spring League Meeting, Key Biscayne, Florida.
- 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 2020 league year.
- June 3: 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 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).
- Late June: Rookie Transition Program to be held at individual clubs. Attendance is mandatory for all 2019 rookies.
- July 15: 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 2019 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.
- Mid-July: Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players.
- July 22*: Signing period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 7 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights. * or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.
- July 22: Signing period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
- August 1: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio.
- August 1-4: Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio.
- August 6: Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an accrued season for free agency.
- August 6: If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2019, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2020 league year.
- August 31: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
- August 31: Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/NonFootball Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.
- September 1: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time.
- September 1: Clubs may establish a practice squad of 10 players (clubs participating in the International Player Development Program may sign one additional international player to a Practice Player Contract.)
- September 5: At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL clubs.
- September 5, 8-9: Regular Season Week 1.