NFL Communications announced today when all 32 clubs will begin their offseason training programs. The New Orleans Saints will kick off spring workouts in two weeks on April 16 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center and training facilities in Metairie, Louisiana.
Additional voluntary organized team activities (OTA) will be held on the following dates:
- OTA: May 22-24
- OTA: May 29-31
- OTA: June 4-7
- Mandatory minicamp: June 12-14
These are the first steps towards full-contact practices later in the summer - initially, players will report to check in with team doctors on their conditioning and progress rehabilitating injuries from last season. They will probably spend more time in the weight room than on the practice field, at least at first.
It will be interesting to see when the Saints schedule their formal top 30 visits with draft prospects, and whether that factors into their offseason schedule. The Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions frequently schedule prospects they don’t expect to be drafted to tour facilities and work out at the same time as their contracted players in a bit of a recruiting move. The Denver Broncos will be hosting top quarterback prospect Baker Mayfield during the same week they begin offseason workouts.
The OTA’s scheduled for May and June are where the real fun begins. That’s when the team will begin installing plays with the newly-signed free agents and fresh-faced rookie draft picks, as well as opening up practice for media availability and fan observance.
Stay tuned for more announcements on when fans will be allowed to attend, though the Advocate’s Joel Erickson expects the that the mandatory minicamp will follow precedent and be open to fans. Erickson also suggests that a rookie minicamp will be held in the two weeks after the 2018 NFL Draft, which ends on April 29, as has happened in the past.