Atlanta Falcons: Important 2016 offseason dates
Here’s all of the important dates for the NFL offseason.
Football may be over until August, but there truly is no offseason. All 32 teams are now firmly focused on the offseason, which includes free agency and the draft. Between now and September, it’s all about ensuring the roster is as strong as it can be before pursuit of another Lombardi Trophy begins.
The NFL has created excellent all-year entertainment by televising the NFL Combine, as well as the timing of free agency and the draft. There’s plenty of buzz surrounding these events for fans, which means we don’t really get into the offseason until June, and that’s right before training camp.
Here’s all of the important offseason dates.
February 16: First day for teams to designate Franchise and Transition tags.
February 23-29: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.
March 1: Deadline for teams to designate Franchise and Transition tags (4 p.m. ET)
March 7-9: Teams are permitted to contact and enter negotiations with pending free agents, although a contract can’t be agreed until 4 p.m. ET.
March 9: Start of 2016 NFL league year. Free agency begins at 4 p.m. ET.
- Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must exercise options for 2016 on all players who have option clauses in their 2015 contracts.
- Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
- Top-51 begins: All teams must be under the 2016 salary cap prior to 4 p.m. ET.
March 20-23: Annual League Meeting, Boca Raton, Florida.
April 4: Teams that hired a new head coach may begin offseason program.
April 18: Teams with returning head coaches may begin offseason program.
April 22: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.
April 28-30: 2016 NFL Draft, Chicago, Illinois
May 6-9 or May 13-16: Teams can choose to hold three-day rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
May 23-25: NFL Spring League Meeting, Charlotte, North Carolina
June 19-25: Rookie Symposium, Aurora, Ohio.
July 15: Deadline (4 p.m. ET) for teams who designated Franchise tag to sign player to long-term extension. After the deadline, the player can only sign the one-year contract which can’t be extended until the day after the team’s final regular season game.
Mid-July: Training camp opens.
There’s a lot to work through this offseason, and the Atlanta Falcons have plenty of work to do between now and July when camp opens. And that’s when the real work begins.