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The key dates of the 2023 NFL offseason: free agency deadlines, draft, franchise tags...

With the NFL’s offseason now underway, we’re taking a look at some of the key dates to note in the buildup for the 2023-24 NFL regular season.

With the NFL’s offseason now underway, we’re taking a look at some of the key dates to note in the buildup for the 2023-24 NFL regular season.
Carmen MandatoGetty

There is no stopping when it comes to the NFL. That’s to say, that as much as the Chiefs may still be in their post Super Bowl honeymoon phase, the rest of the league is surely beginning to focus on the upcoming offseason, which is set to be as intriguing as ever ahead of the 2023 season.

The key dates in the NFL offseason

From free agency, to the combine, to the 2023 NFL Draft, there are a number of key dates across the next few months for NFL fans to consider. Indeed, this is the time when teams in the league look to restock, replace and of course revamp their rosters, in preparation for the coming campaign. With no further ado, let’s take a look at what they are.

Franchise tag period: February 21 - March 7

As of Tuesday February 21st, teams can begin to designate the Franchise and Transition Tags to players on their rosters. The period in which they can, comes to an end at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 7th. It’s worth noting that NFL teams are permitted to apply the franchise tag only once during each offseason. What this does, is allow the franchise in question to maintain a player who is due to become an unrestricted free agent, on a one-year guaranteed deal.

NFL Scouting Combine: February 28 - March 6

If there is one major highlight before the Draft process begins, it’s got to be the NFL’s Scouting Combine. This year, Indianapolis will play host to the event as the country’s top prospects attempt to stake their claims in front of head coaches, general managers, scouts and executives. Known as the “Underwear Olympics,” the Combine is largely a proving ground for young players who run the gauntlet of drills which include the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, bench press, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle and many more. For perspective, John Ross still holds the fastest time in the 40-yard dash, which he set at 4:22 back in 2017.

On the other hand, the Combine also represents a key moment in the filtering process. prospects are also asked to attend interviews with coaches and general managers alike. Needless to say, these sessions go a long way toward determining the character and personality of players, something which is as important - if not more so - as their on field skills. Where this year’s combine is concerned, 319 prospects have been invited, after which they will also participate in College Pro Days, which begins on March 7th. There they will be given the opportunity to work out - with scouts present - at their respective schools.

Free Agency: March 15

As you may have seen in our previous report, the NFL’s legal tampering period begins on March 13th and runs until the official start of the new league year on March 15th. During this time, teams are in fact permitted to enter contract negotiations with the agents of players, who are set to become unrestricted free agents when their 2022 contracts expire at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 15th - the beginning of the free agency period. To be clear, only after the start of free agency can players and teams finalize contracts, however, as you can probably imagine, much of the negotiation tends to occur during the two-day ‘legal tampering’ window.

2023 NFL Draft: April 27 - April 29

Without doubt, the most important date on the offseason calendar has got to be the NFL Draft. Set for April 27th, Kansas City will be hosting this year’s edition of the Draft and we’re very sure it’s going to be an interesting one. If you saw our previous report on the Draft, you will know that the Chicago Bears are set to receive the No. 1 overall pick after they finished with the worst record in the league, 3-14. Right behind them, are the Houston Texans who are in desperate need of a quarterback, the Indianapolis Colts (No. 4 overall) and the No. 3 pick Arizona Cardinals.

Regarding who’s up for grabs, we’ve got Alabama’s Bryce Young, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, all of whom are top tier college quarterbacks. There is also Georgia defensive tackle, Jalen Carter, who will likely be one of the stars of the show, along with Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr, who is one of the best pass rushers of his class. The drama of the Draft is made all the more exciting, by the now common mid-Draft trades that we are beginning to see more and more of each year. Remember last year’s huge deal between the Eagles and Titans, which saw AJ Brown move to Philadelphia? The Draft is normally followed by Rookie minicamps, which take place from either May 5th to 8th, or 12th to 15th.

NFL Schedule release: Mid-May

Traditionally, the middle of May is normally when the NFL’s official schedule is released. This year’s will be no different, with fans discovering how their teams will start their seasons, as well as who will be playing during the holidays on days such as Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Needless to say, the schedule also provides a look at which teams will be playing in the NFL’s international games. According to reports, 2023 will see the Bills and Titans hosting games at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while the Jaguars will be playing at Wembley. The Chiefs and Patriots will both be playing in Germany for the first time.

NFL Training Camps: Late July

As you can probably guess, the start of training camp is normally when things start to get serious. From scrimmages, to the inclusion of pads and an increase in weight training, it’s truly the moment when teams intensify their preparation for the coming campaign. It is a time of competition between teammates as they fight for a starting spot, as well as the period when the coach determines how his players will be used.

Hall of Fame Game: August 3

Considered by most to be the true start of the month-long preseason period, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is held each year in Canton, Ohio. In what can be considered the first step in the Hall of Fame celebration process, two teams battle it out for the honor of true remembrance. This year’s class was fittingly announced just prior to the Super Bowl and includes the following players:

  • Ronde Barber
  • Darrelle Revis
  • Joe Thomas
  • Zach Thomas
  • DeMarcus Ware
  • Don Coryell (coach/contributor)
  • Chuck Howley (senior)
  • Joe Klecko (senior)
  • Ken Riley (senior)

Start of 2023 NFL Regular Season: September 7

With the start date now set, NFL fans know exactly when the action will begin once again. As is the tradition, the Super Bowl winner plays in the Thursday night kick-off, meaning the Chiefs will have the honor of getting things rolling this year.


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