Key NFL 2020 Offseason Dates: Free Agency, Draft and More

John Healy
February 05, 2020 - 1:36 pm

Just because the Super Bowl is over does not mean that the NFL is going to disappear until next fall.

Far from it, actually. The offseason can be just as busy as the regular season with free agency, trades and the draft and everything in between.

So, while there are no games on the calendar (with the exception of the XFL) there is still plenty of football news to follow in the coming months.

Feb. 24-March 2: NFL Scouting Combine

The NFL Draft season officially kicks off as prospects gather at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for a week-long combine to show off their skills and meet face-to-face with media members and interested teams.

Defensive back Zedrick Woods runs the 40 at the 2019 NFL Combine.
Photo credit Getty Images

Feb. 25- March 10: Designation of Franchise Tags Period

Teams have this 10-day period to place the franchise tag or transition tag on one of their unrestricted free agents.

March 16-18: Legal Tampering

Clubs are allowed to begin negotiating with certified agents of any player eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.

March 18: Free Agency Begins and More

Contracts expire at 4 p.m. ET, allowing unrestricted free agents to begin signing with other teams. Teams must also exercise options for 2020 on all players who have option clauses in their 2019 contracts; clubs must submit qualifying offers to restricted free agents with expiring contracts, and all clubs must be under the salary cap prior to 4 p.m. ET. This day also marks the start of the new League Year.

March 29-April 1: Annual League Meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.

Each year, owners and coaches get together, usually in Florida, to reflect on the season and discuss potential rule changes that need to be made. It was here, last year, where it was proposed and approved that pass interference could be a reviewable play.

April 6 and April 20: Offseason workouts

Teams with new head coaches are allowed to begin offseason workout programs on April 6, while teams with returning head coaches may begin them on April 20.

April 17: Restricted Free Agent Deadline

Free agents with three of fewer accrued seasons of service must sign a qualifying offer sheet by this date.

April 23-24: NFL Draft

The most anticipated part of the NFL offseason — the draft. This year, the draft will be held in Las Vegas and the Cincinnati Bengals hold the No. 1 pick. There will be plenty of highly touted quarterback prospects with Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Hebert all expecting to go in the first round while pass rusher Chase Young is expected to be the first non-quarterback off the board.

The 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Photo credit Getty Images

April 27: Teams Can Contact XFL Players

A new wrinkle to the offseason this year includes the opportunity for NFL teams to reach out and offer invites or contracts to XFL players following its season.

May 1-3 or May 8-11: Rookie Mini Camp

Clubs decided between one of these two weekends to hold a three-day rookie minicamp where players — drafted or undrafted — are invited to acclimate themselves with their new team or are trying to show they deserve a training camp invite.

May 19: Spring League Meeting

Similar to the Annual League Meeting, the owners meet up again amongst themselves to discuss and vote on new rule proposals that may not have had any resolution during the Annual League Meeting.

July 15: Franchise Tag Negotiating Deadline

Any player who was placed under the franchise tag must sign a multiyear contract with the team who tagged him or play under the one-year tag for the 2020 season.

Mid-July: Training Camp Opens for Rookies

Clubs are allowed to begin training camp with rookies up to seven days before veterans are required to show up.

Aug. 6: Hall of Fame Game

The start of the NFL preseason officially begins with the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.

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