Updated Bears calendar, including OTA, minicamp dates originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The 2023 NFL Draft is behind us. The new league year technically begins in March, when free agency opens up, but many count the draft as the unofficial beginning to the offseason. Teams get an influx of new talent, fans start to tune in more and more, and the rest of the NFL calendar begins to pick up the pace.
Here’s an updated look at the Bears calendar now that the draft is over. Note, NFL calendars are fluid, so some of these dates may change.
MAY 5-6: ROOKIE MINICAMP
Just one week after the draft, the Bears get all their draft picks, undrafted free agents in Halas Hall for a couple of days of work. There will be a handful of players brought in on a tryout basis, and there’s a chance a couple of second-year players will show up, too. This is the first time Bears coaches will get extended time with their new crop of players.
EARLY MAY: NFL SCHEDULE REVEALED
We’ve known the list of Bears opponents for several months, but we still don't know exactly when they’ll play each team. We also don’t know for sure when that info will come, but Adam Schefter has reported the league is targeting May 11 for a schedule release. Last year the news came on May 12, so the announcement should be coming soon.
MAY 22, 23, 26: FIRST THREE OTAS
Organized team activities, or OTAs, are purely voluntary, so teams can’t fine players for not attending. They’re also strictly regulated by the NFLPA. Only 10 days of OTAs are allowed each summer, and live contact is not permitted. In fact, the Bears lost an OTA last season because the league ruled they allowed too much contact early in the summer program.
MAY 30 - JUNE 1: SECOND THREE OTAS
It was around this time last year that the Bears moved Braxton Jones to left tackle to see what he could do at the position. As it turned out, he never relinquished the job. Will there be any surprises like that this year?
JUNE 5 - 8: FINAL OTAS
Since the Bears can’t feature too much contact at OTAs, they’ll run a lot of 7-on-7 drills. They are allowed to go 11-on-11 if they want, but linemen can’t do anything more than “thud” each other.
JUNE 13-15: VETERAN MINICAMP
This is the first time every player is required to be at Halas Hall. If a player skips these three days they may be subject to a fine. The Bears have been lenient with fining players in the past, however. Last year Roquan Smith participated in a “hold in” throughout the summer, where he participated in team meetings and in the classroom but not on the practice field, and the Bears opted not to discipline him.
JULY 17: DEADLINE TO SIGN FRANCHISE TAG PLAYER TO EXTENSION
Any teams that tagged a player have until mid-July to sign that player to a new deal, otherwise that player will spend the season on a one-year deal. The Bears did not use the franchise tag on anyone this year, so it’s not relevant for them.
END OF JULY: TRAINING CAMP BEGINS
This is the meat of a team’s summer program. Players grind it out for nearly a month to earn a spot on the 53-man roster and practice intensity ramps up steadily. There will be a couple of preseason games sprinkled in towards the end, too. This is where jobs will be won and jobs will be lost.
AUG. 3 - 6: HALL OF FAME WEEKEND
The league’s celebration of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees begins with a special preseason game. This year the Jets and Browns will play each other in Canton at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Thursday. There’s plenty of fanfare throughout the weekend, like a parade and a concert. Saturday’s enshrinement is the main event, of course. The Bears don’t have anyone headed to the Hall this year, but Devin Hester was a finalist for the second year in a row.
SEPT. 7: REGULAR SEASON KICKOFF
It seems so far away now, but Week 1 always arrives in the blink of an eye. We still don’t know who will square off in the NFL’s first game of the season, but it’s always a momentous occasion.