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NFL offseason calendar: What are the most important dates to know in 2024?

NFL offseason
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Kansas City Chiefs have defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII, the NFL officially shifts into offseason mode, with plenty more activity on the horizon.

Over the next seven months, NFL teams will rarely catch a break as they prepare in earnest to make any improvements necessary to ascend to the same level as the Chiefs next season.

Following are the key NFL offseason dates over the rest of 2024.

Feb. 20-March 5: Franchise and transition tags

NFL offseason
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Teams can begin designating franchise or transition players until 4 p.m. ET on March 5. Each team can apply one franchise tag and one transition tag per year to players scheduled to be unrestricted free agents.

The franchise tag can be either “exclusive” or “non-exclusive,” with both designations requiring a team to offer the player a one-year contract that can’t be less than the average of the top five at their position or 120 percent of their previous year’s salary. The only difference is the “non-exclusive” franchise player can negotiate with other teams, although the compensation for their original team is two first-round draft picks if they leave.

A transition player is offered no less than the average of the top 10 salaries at his position or 120 percent of his previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. If the player signs an offer with another team, his original team has seven days to match it or let him go without compensation.

The most noteworthy player who could receive a franchise tag this NFL offseason is Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, who is arguably the top unrestricted free agent on the market. Because the Chiefs tagged Jones in 2023, however, another tag could cost them around $32 million.

Feb. 27-March 4: NFL scouting combine, Indianapolis

NFL offseason
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The annual week-long event held at Lucas Oil Stadium is showcase where the top college prospects are invited to take part in physical and mental tests for NFL general managers, head coaches and scouts as a valuable part of the evaluation process for the NFL draft.

The players, who have an opportunity to improve their draft stock, are broken up into position groups and undergo testing for strength, speed, quickness and agility in addition to drills specific to their position. They also do team interviews, take physical exams, and undergo drug screening.

March 11-13: Free agency opens

NFL offseason
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From 12 p.m. ET on March 11 until 3:59 p.m. ET on March 13, teams can talk to and negotiate with agents of players set to be unrestricted free agents as of 4 p.m. ET on March 13, when their contracts expire and when the new league year begins. That’s also the earliest time that an unrestricted free agent can sign with a new club.

Three of the top unrestricted free agents on the market are set to be Jones, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

Related: Top NFL free agents of 2024

March 24-27: Annual league meeting, Orlando

NFL offseason
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The 32 teams will send their owners, head coaches and other front office personnel to meet and discuss new rule for the upcoming season.

Among the topics of discussion are expected to be kickoffs, perhaps eliminating the experiment of having fair catches, and fumbles through the back of the end zone, resulting in a touchback and possession going to the defending team.

April 25-27: NFL Draft, Detroit

NFL offseason
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 89th annual draft is the biggest even of the NFL offseason, and it will be held over three days in Detroit, with the first round on Day, rounds two and three on Day 2 and round four through seven on Day 3.

The Chicago Bears own the No. 1 overall pick as a result of their trade last March with the Carolina Panthers that resulted in the Panthers taking quarterback Bryce Young with the No. 1 pick in 2023.

May 3-6 or 10-13: Rookie minicamps

Teams can hold one three-day post-draft minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday on one of the first two weekends after the draft.

May 9: NFL schedule release

NFL offseason
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is the anticipated date of the 2024 NFL schedule release only because the 2023 schedules were released on the second Thursday in May last year. What’s already known about the 2024 schedule are opponents for each team, just not the actual dates for the specific matchups.

The NFL plans to have five international games in 2024, with the first one being hosted by the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 6 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, making it the first NFL game to be held in South America.

In addition, three games will be held in London, with Chicago and Minnesota hosting separate games at Totteham Hotspur Stadium, and Jacksonville hosting another at Wembley Stadium. Also, Carolina will host a game in Munich, Germany.

Related: NFL Power Rankings 2024

Late May-early June: OTAs

NFL teams are allowed to hold 10 days of organized team activities (or OTAs), which fall between voluntary minicamps in April and mandatory minicamps in June.

No live contact is allowed. Only 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-and-11 drills are permitted. While most players attend OTAs, others will skip OTAs if they are either recovering from an injury or in the midst of a contract dispute.

Late July: NFL training camps

NFL offseason

NFL teams open camp to officially begin intense preparations for the upcoming season. Teams will typically practice in the morning, with most practices are open to public, although a few requiring entry tickets.

While most teams held training camp at their year-round facilities, seven teams held training camp at a different location in 2023: Buffalo Bills (St. John Fisher University in Rochester, NY), Carolina Panthers (Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC), Dallas Cowboys (Oxnard, Calif.), Indianapolis Colts (Grand Park, Westfield, Ind.), Kansas City Chiefs (Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, Mo.), and Pittsburgh Steelers (Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pa.).

Camps extend into mid-August before they return to their normal team facilities. Along with training camp, teams will play a maximum of three exhibition games — except for the two teams in the Hall of Fame Game, who play four — as they work toward cutting their rosters down to 53 players before their season-opening game.

Aug. 1: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, OH

NFL offseason
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The annual game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium kicks off the NFL preseason and occurs on the Thursday leading into Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies that weekend.

Typically, a team associated with one of the former players being inducted into the Hall of Fame will play. This year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees are the following:

  • Dwight Freeney
  • Randy Gradishar
  • Devin Hester
  • Andre Johnson
  • Steve McMichael
  • Julius Peppers
  • Patrick Willis

Related: 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class: Snubs, analysis and reactions

Sept. 5: 2024 NFL season opens

NFL offseason

The NFL season always begins on Thursday night of Week 1, with the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs hosting the game for a second straight season. Last year, they opened against the Detroit Lions, who beat them, 21-20.

The regular season is set to end with Week 18 on Jan. 5, 2025, with the playoffs beginning with the wild-card round the following week.

Super Bowl LIX will conclude the season on Feb. 9, 2025, at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.

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