This is the first Sunday in 26 weeks without an NFL game. Welcome to the NFL offseason.
The NFL offseason is by far the longest of any sport, with 6 months until the preseason and 7 months until the season opener. Still, this period of time is filled with extensive work, preparation, and excitement. In this issue of Offseason Chronicles, we’ll take a look at the schedule ahead.
February 17-March 3: Franchise Tag Period
Next Monday, teams will have to make early decisions on how they will balance their salary cap space and their big name free agents. This ends about 8 days before the start of free agency, March 11.
February 19-25: NFL Scouting Combine
Teams and their scouts will evaluate the 2014 draft prospects and their athleticism.
- On the 22nd, tight ends, offensive linemen, and special teamers will be evaluated.
- On the 23rd, quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers will be evaluated.
- On the 24th, defensive linemen and linebackers will be evaluated.
- Finally, on the 25th, defensive backs will be evaluated.
Pro Days for additional evaluation or for players who were not invited to the NFL Combine are to be held throughout March and April.
March 11: Free Agency begins
In March, the scramble begins. Teams will fight over free agents and evaluate which positions they will need to target in the draft based on market values and salary cap concerns. This period of time could have the greatest direct implication on the season ahead.
May 8-10: NFL Draft
This year the NFL Draft was pushed back from April to May, which gives teams a longer time to do scouting and evaluation of prospects.
Late May-Early June: OTA’s
These are “Organized Team Activities.” They can range from anything such as minicamp or offseason workouts to team building activities in which the team takes part in recreational activities to build chemistry. Because of the late draft, this year’s OTA’s may be anywhere from May to June.
July: Training Camp
Players come back from vacation, coaches implement new systems, rigorous practices and training sessions begin. Teams get back in the competitive mentality and prepare for preseason and Week 1.
Exhibition games, joint practices, backups playing for extensive time, and positional battles. Setting teams’ competitive mindsets and pulling fans back into the game.
September 4: NFL Kickoff
And after 7 months the cycle continues, as the NFL Regular Season will kick off in CenturyLink Field (unless something like the complication in last year’s season opener happens).
Stay tuned for more Offseason Chronicles