As we look ahead to another offseason of football in the world of Covid-19, we continue uncertainty surrounding the NFL offseason schedule.
As it currently stands, the only dates we officially know are three:
- College players have by the end of the day today to officially tell the NFL that they intend to forgo the 2021 NFL Draft and re-enter the ranks of college football;
- NFL teams have until March 9th to apply the franchise tag to eligible players; and
- The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 29th through May 1st.
We already know the 2021 NFL Combine has been cancelled, but this time last year, there were far more important dates of interest that were announced.
Take a look at these deadlines from the 2020 season:
March 10 - Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 16-18 - 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 2019 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 18.
March 18 - Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2020 on all players who have option clauses in their 2019 contracts.
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.
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 2019 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.
Top 51 Rule begins. All clubs must be under the 2020 Salary Cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.
All 2019 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
The 2020 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
The first day of the 2020 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 18. 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 18.
Trading period for 2020 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2019 contracts.
March 29-April 1 - Annual League Meeting, Palm Beach, Florida.
April 6 - Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2019 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
April 17 - Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
April 20 - Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
April 23-25 - NFL Draft, Las Vegas, Nevada.
None of these dates have been included thus far in NFL’s “Important NFL Dates” page as of the date of this article’s publication aside from the 2021 NFL Draft and the franchise tag deadline.
It’s also important to remember that some time point this month, Drew Brees will likely make his official announcement regarding his retirement or return in 2021. That will be the date to remember as it will be the first very important domino to fall in the offseason for the New Orleans Saints. Like with the rest of the NFL schedule, it’s just unclear what that date will be right now.
Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Instagram at @SaintsCSC and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel.