Here are the important dates for the 2020 NFL calendar along with some notes that might prove helpful.
January 17th: Deadline for underclassmen to apply for special eligibility to the 2020 NFL Draft. By now we’re getting daily word on NFL hopefuls, but the headlines will build considerably this week.
January 18th: East-West Shrine Bowl.
January 18th: NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
January 19th: Conference Championships.
January 26th: An assistant coach whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job, may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl. Only the Browns are without a head coach at this point.
January 31st: Deadline for NFL teams to try out and negotiate with CFL players whose contracts expire at 12pm ET on February 11th
February 2nd: Super Bowl LIV.
February 3rd: Waiver system for 2020 begins.
February 11th: NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose 2020 CFL contracts have expired.
February 24th – March 2nd: NFL Scouting Combine
February 25th: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition players. The only Redskins player that seems to be a candidate for a tag is Brandon Scherff. If the ‘Skins tag him, however, it is more likely to be near the final deadline on 10 March than in February.
March 10th: Deadline for teams to designate Franchise or Transition players (3:00 p.m. C.T.). See above note on Scherff.
March 16th – 18th: “Legal tampering.” Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2019 player contracts.
March 18th: Teams must exercise options for 2020 on all players who have option clauses in their 2019 contracts.
March 18th: Teams must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
March 18th: Teams must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2019 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.
March 18th: Top 51 Rule begins. Every team must be under the 2020 salary cap (only counting the top 51 salaries on the 90-man roster).
March 18th: First day of the new league year begins at 4:00 p.m. New York time. Free agency opens. Trading period for 2020 also opens after all 2019 contracts expire.
March 29th – April 1st: Annual NFL Meetings. Watch for further rule changes and hopefully more ways to fix PI calls and more.
April 17th: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.
April 20th: Teams with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
April 23rd – 25th: 2020 NFL Draft
April 27th: Beginning this date, NFL clubs may request permission to visit with, try out, or sign any player who was under contract to the XFL at the conclusion of the XFL season.
May 1st – 4th: Teams may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
May 5th: Deadline for prior team to send “May 5 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a player contract with a club by July 22 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later, he may negotiate or sign a player contract from that date until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, at 4:00 p.m., New York time, only with his prior team.
May 8th through 11th: Teams may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
May 11th: Rookie Football Development programs begin.
May 14th through 17th: NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Invited rookies (typically, first- and/or second-round selections) must be permitted by their respective clubs to attend. Such players are unavailable for offseason workouts, OTA days, and minicamps during this period.
May 19th and 20th: Spring League Meetings.
June 1st: Deadline for prior team to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Restricted Free Agents who received a qualifying offer for a right of first refusal only in order for such player to be subject to the CBA’s “June 15 Tender” provision.
June 15th: Deadline for teams to withdraw qualifying offers to Restricted Free Agents and still keep exclusive negotiating rights by substituting a “June 15th Tender”.
Late June: Rookie Transition Program to be held at individual teams. This is the NFL’s best effort to bring in all new players to each team for important information on how to manage their newfound wealth, dealing with fame, community ties, etc.
July 15th: Deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2020 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game. Could be important for Scherff here if he is tagged and negotiations drag out.
Mid-July: Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players.
July 22nd: Signing period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders
July 22nd: Signing period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 5 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
August 6th – 9th: Pro Football Hall of Fame weekend, anchored by HOF game on the 6th.
August 11th: Deadline for players with contracts to report to their teams in order to gain an accrued season towards free agency
September 5th: Teams must be down to final 53-man rosters by 4:00 p.m. New York time.
September 10th: First game of the 2020 season.