2023 NFL offseason: Important dates from the NFL combine to franchise tag deadline

The NFL is a year-long sport. It is just sometimes they play games on Sundays.

For much of the calendar year, teams are working to assemble the best rosters they can and get ready for the 17-game campaign to determine who will be world champions by mid-February.

With the combine, free agency, draft visits, the draft itself, and various contract deadlines, there are a bevy of dates to keep track of.

Here is a look at the important dates in the 2023 NFL offseason from the start of the combine in Indianapolis to the franchise tag deadline in the middle of July.

Feb. 28 - March 6: NFL scouting combine

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Who makes a good impression in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium?

March 7 — Tag designation

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Prior to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, deadline for clubs to designate franchise or transition players.

March 13-15 — Legal tampering period for free agency

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Starting at 12:00 p.m. ET on March 13 and ending at 3:59:59 on March 15, teams are allowed to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2022 player contracts at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 15.

During the 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 team’s front office officials — coach and other coaching staff members excluded — regarding contract negotiations.

The deals cannot be finalized until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 15.

March 15 — Happy new year

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The league year and free agency period for 2023 starts at 4:00 p.m. ET. Day 1 of the new league year ends at 23:59:59 ET on March 15.

The trading period also starts at 4:00 p.m. ET after the expiration of all 2022 contracts.

Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m. ET and 23:59:59 p.m. ET on March 15.

March 26-29 — NFL owners meetings

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The NFL owners will hold their first meeting of the new league year in Phoenix, Ariz.

April 3 — New coaches can hold offseason workouts

A team that hired a new coach after the end of the 2022 regular season may start offseason workout programs.

April 17 — Teams with returning coaches to begin workouts

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Teams with returning coaches may begin their offseason workout programs.

April 19 — Deadline for draft visits


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Deadline for teams to time, test, visit, interview or conduct a physical examination with a draft eligible player at team facilities.

April 21 — Restricted free agents deadline to sign offer sheets

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The deadline is over a month after the free agency period began.

April 26 — Right of first refusal

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The deadline is for the prior team to exercise their right of first refusal to restricted free agents.

April 26 — Deadline for teams to visit draft prospects anywhere

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Teams are no longer permitted to time, test, visit, interview (including video and phone calls) or conduct a physical examination with a draft eligible player at any location.

April 27-29 — 2023 NFL draft

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NFL draft, Kansas City, Missouri

May 2 — Fifth-year option deadline

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Teams have to decide whether or not they would like to use their fifth-year option for players selected in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL draft.

May 5-8 or May 12-15 — Rookie minicamp

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Teams are allowed to hold their one three-day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or even Saturday through Monday on one of the two weekends following the draft.

May 15 — Rookie Football Development Programs start

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The programs essentially help rookies get oriented to the NFL city they are currently working in.

May 18-21 — NFL Rookie Premiere

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The NFL holds its rookie premiere in Los Angeles, California.

May 22-24 — NFL spring owners meetings

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The NFL has its spring owners meetings in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

June 1 — "June 1 tender" deadline

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June is the deadline for prior clubs to send in a tender to its unsigned restricted free agents who have received a qualifying offer for a right of first refusal only in order for such player to be subject to the collective bargaining agreement’s “June 15 tender” provision.

June 15 — Deadline to withdraw higher qualifying offer to restricted free agents

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June is the deadline for teams to withdraw higher qualifying offers to restricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting lower “June 15 tender” of one-year contract at 110% of the player’s prior-year Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior-year contract carried forward unchanged).

Late June — Rookie Readiness Program

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Teams can hold their Rookie Readiness Program.

July 15 — Franchise tag deadline

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July 15 at 4:00 p.m. ET is the deadline for both sides to make a deal for a long-term contract. If an agreement cannot be reached by this deadline, the two sides are precluded from negotiating a long-term contract until the end of the 2023 season.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire