NFL Off-Season Schedule (Dates You Need to Know)

Monday, February 8:
Teams can begin waiving players. Other than the expected release of Donte Stallworth by the Browns, to date, teams have not yet begun to purge their dead weight. Expect several veterans (like Tra Thomas and Torry Holt of Jacksonville) to hit the open market soon.

Thursday, February 11:
Teams can begin to assign the franchise tag or transition tag to a player. Due to the uncapped year, teams may assign both a franchise and transition player, or two transition players.

Wednesday, February 24 – Tuesday, March 2: NFL Combine:
Yes, we are treated to more than a week of non-stop coverage from the NFL Network, showcasing most of the NFL prospects, clad in their under-armour gear, running cone drills and participating in the true marker for all NFL players, the 40 yard dash, note to readers, I hope you have recognized my sarcasm in referencing the 40 yard dash). Though some folks, by some I mean only Al Davis, may disagree with me as to the importance of the 40 yard dash.

Thursday, February 25:
Deadline for teams to assign franchise/transition tags. This date has an even greater significance this year as the NFL and the NFLPA are as likely to confirm a new labor deal as I am to avoid the dreaded “Graziano hair-line curse.” In other words, expect the urban legend of an “un-capped year” to occur which will trigger provisions in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement allowing teams to assign both a franchise and transition tag, or two transition tags. Fancy language which simply means that player movement through unrestricted free agency may lead to fewer big name signings. Thus, this year’s NFL draft, which is being touted as one of the deepest drafts in years, becomes even more important as teams will not have a ton of options through free agency to upgrade their rosters.

Thursday, March 4:
Deadline for teams to extend a qualifying offer to restricted free agents; if they do not, these players become unrestricted free agents. Giants fans, it will be interesting to see what the tender will be, if any, for the likes of Barry Cofield and Domenik Hixon; my guess is the G-men will give a high enough tender to both to ensure their return for the 2010 season.

Friday, March 5:
The beginning of free agent signing period. While I am anticipating this date to be somewhat anti-climatic, due to the un-capped year, expect a flurry of activity as the few big-named free agents will likely sign deals hours into free agency (yes, this is where the wink-wink agent to general manager conversations occur before midnight and we will be treated to miraculously quick free agent deals which I am sure are negotiated after the free agency period begins, and not one minute before. This is also the date in which teams can make trades. Traditionally, we do not see a large amount of trade activity, but this may change a bit this year with player movement restricted as mentioned above.

Thursday, April 22 – Saturday, April 24: 2010 NFL Draft
The NFL Draft has finally arrived in prime-time, with the 1st round televised on Thursday evening, starting at *4:30 p.m., and continuing Friday at *3:30 p.m.(Rounds 2-3), and finishing Saturday at *7:00 a.m. (with Rounds 4-7). Wives everywhere can be heard rejoicing as this new schedule will free up most of Saturday and all day Sunday for quality Bed Bath & Beyond time.

*Eastern Time Zone*

One more Super Bowl thought: Party Girl was right, she took the Saints and both the Saints and party girl continue to celebrate; Saints because they won the big game, Party Girl, because that is what she does. Oh man.

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