Aug 1, 2011; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) talks to wide receiver Julio Jones (11) throws a pass during training camp at the Atlanta Falcons Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Key Falcons Dates - 2012 NFL Offseason Schedule


The Super Bowl is over and now our attention turns toward the offseason schedule. The Kansas City Chiefs have some work to do so here is a list of important dates to mark on your offseason calendar.

Feb. 20: Franchise tag can be applied.

Starting on the 20th of February, NFL teams can apply the franchise tag to any big name free agents they want to secure for next season. For the Falcons, there is a decent chance either Curtis Lofton or Brent Grimes could receive the tag. But don’t expect it to happen on the 20th. The team and the players are likely to negotiate on a long-term deal as long as they can before the new league year begins.

Feb. 22-28: NFL Combine

The NFL Combine will officially kick off draft season. There will be live coverage of the workouts on NFL.com and NFL Network. This will be the first time that we may see major shifts in the expected draft order. An impressive performance at the combine can help a player rocket up draft boards just as a poor performance can knock a player down a few rounds. NFL GM’s will talk all week about how numbers aren’t everything but believe me, they’re something.

March 5: Deadline to apply franchise tag

March 5th is the deadline to apply the franchise tag. If the Falcons choose not to use it on either Lofton or Grimes, they will become unrestricted free agents.

March 13: Free agency begins at 4 p.m.

The Falcons are always movers and shakers in free agency. What will Dimitroff do this year?

March 25-28: NFL owners’ meetings

The NFL owners get together in Florida to sip on sugary cocktails and talk about how rich they are.

Mid-April: Teams begin offseason programs

The Falcons get back to work. They’ll be allowed to have 10 OTA’s.

April 26-28: The NFL Draft begins in NYC

The NFL Draft will kick off on April 26th. Last years draft saw the Falcons make the bold move for Julio Jones. Don’t expect anything quite as dramatic from the Falcons this time round, as they do not possess a first round pick.

Late July: Training camps begin

May, June and most of July are dark times for an NFL fan. But then, late in the month, training camp coverage begins.

Early August: Preseason begins

I don’t care what anyone says, preseason matters. The scores of the games don’t matter but getting team chemistry together is vital/

Sept. 6: Season opener

The Giants will host the season opener in New Jersey.

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