March-ing Through the Offseason: Important Dates Coming Up on the 2019 NFL Calendar
Now that the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis has wrapped up, fans may think NFL teams are getting a little bit of an offseason break. But things are just beginning to heat up as we creep up on the start of free agency.
March is a busy month in the NFL offseason. Here’s a look at what’s ahead on the 2019 NFL Calendar in terms of important dates/deadlines.
March 5 — 3pm central, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 11 – 13 — During the period beginning at 11am central, on March 11th and ending at 2:59:59pm central on March 13th, 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 3pm central on March 13.
During the above two-day negotiating period, a prospective unrestricted free agent who is not represented by an NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor is permitted to communicate directly with a new club’s front office officials (excluding the head coach and other members of the club’s coaching staff) regarding contract negotiations.
March 13 — The 2019 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 3pm central.
The first day of the 2019 League Year will end at 10:59:59pm central, on March 13. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the League office during the period between 3pm central and 10:59:59pm central on March 13.
March 13 — Trading period for 2019 begins at 3pm central after expiration of all 2018 contracts.
April 1 — Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2018 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
March 24 – 27 — Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
April 15 — Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs (this would include the Cowboys).
April 19 — Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.
April 24 — Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.
April 25 – 27 — NFL DRAFT in 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.
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
May 20 – 22 — Spring League Meeting
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.
June 16 – 30 – Rookie Transition Program to be held at individual clubs
July 15 — At 3pm central 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.
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 3pm central on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rig
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.
Late July — Training Camp begins (dates to be announced later)
August 1 — Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio (teams to be announced)
August 1 – 4 — Hall of Fame Weekend in Canton, Ohio (former Cowboys V.P. GIL BRANDT is a member of the Class of 2019 and will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame)
August 6 — Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an accrued season for free agency.
Tim Heitman via USA TODAY Sports
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 — Roster cut down to 53 players (3pm central). 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 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 — Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a practice squad of 10 players.
September 5 — At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL clubs.
September 5 – 9 — Regular Season Week 1 kicks off