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Important Dates And Windows For The 2023 NFL Off-Season

By Mark Solway | February 23rd, 2023

With the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the 2022 NFL season came to a close. With that closure, came the beginning of a new season. There is really no off-season in the National Football League anymore.

In fact, the NFL has fantastic marketing savvy. They manage to have fans locked in, even when there is no football being played.

There are a lot of key important dates that keep everything rolling along at a pace that holds people’s interest.

Here are the important dates and time windows to mark on your NFL calendar:

February 21st – March 7th: Franchise/Transition Tag

Starting on Tuesday, February 21, teams can begin applying franchise and transition tag to pending free agents. They can do so until the week before free agency begins.

When a player has been tagged, the team and player can continue trying to negotiate a long-term deal until July.

Washington Commanders fans will of course be keeping a close eye on Daron Payne and wether or not he gets tagged.

Here are the unofficial costs to place the franchise tag on a player at the various positions:

Franchise Tag numbers

February 28th -March 6th: The NFL Combine

The annual NFL scouting combine is one of the biggest events of the off-season. It will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis from February 28 to March 6, when the hottest new prospects will be showcased.

The four-day, invitation-only event allows scouts to further evaluate the year’s top draft-eligible players in a variety of physical drills. Approximately 300 players attend each year.

The Combine can play a big role in final draft prognosticating, as well as provide insight into players that individual NFL teams might be interested in.

Drills schedule:

  • Thursday, March 2nd, 3pm ET – Defensive Linemen and Linebackers
  • Friday, March 3rd, 3pm ET – Defensive Backs
  • Saturday, March 4th, 1pm ET – Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends.
  • Sunday, March 5th, 1pm ET – Running Backs, Offensive Linemen.

March 7th – March 31st: Pro Days

While some schools have Pro Dates set later than this March 31st window, the bulk of schools’ Pro Days will be between the 7th and 31st. Like the Combine, Pro Days let teams get a close look at prospects and fans a look at players their teams might be interested in. Indiana is currently the school with the first scheduled Pro Day on March 7th.

March 13th – March 15th: Legal Tampering Window

While NFL free agency doesn’t officially open until March 15th, teams can begin negotiating with soon-to-be free agents on March 13th at Noon ET. A lot gets done in the days leading up to the official start of free agency.

March 15th: New League Year Officially Opens

The new league year officially begins on Wednesday, March 15th at 4 p.m. ET. Any deals agreed to during the tampering period can be made official, and the NFL is officially open for business again.

March 26th – March 29th: League Meetings

The NFL’s annual league meetings will be held in Phoenix this year from March 26th-29th. The owners will discuss league decisions that need to be made, such as rule changes.

Will Dan Snyder sell the Commanders before the end of March as frequently reported? Will a new regime be representing at the Owners meetings?

April 27th – April 29: 2023 NFL Draft

The Crown Jewel of the NFL off-season, the NFL Draft. It will take place in Kansas City this year.

The first round will be held on the evening of Thursday 27th. The second and third rounds will take place on Friday, and rounds four through seven on Saturday.

Here is the 2023 NFL Draft order:

1. Chicago Bears
2. Houston Texans
3. Arizona Cardinals
4. Indianapolis Colts
5. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)
6. Detroit Lions (via LAR)
7. Las Vegas Raiders
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Carolina Panthers
10. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)
11. Tennessee Titans
12. Houston Texans (via CLE)
13. New York Jets
14. New England Patriots
15. Green Bay Packers
16. Washington Commanders
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
18. Detroit Lions
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. Seattle Seahawks
21. Los Angeles Chargers
22. Baltimore Ravens
23. Minnesota Vikings
24. Jacksonville Jaguars
25. New York Giants
26. Dallas Cowboys
27. Buffalo Bills
28. Cincinnati Bengals
29. New Orleans Saints (via SF via MIA via DEN)
30. Philadelphia Eagles
31. Kansas City Chiefs

The Miami Dolphins would have selected 21st but lost their pick due to tampering charges.

Who will be selected first? Who will be chosen last? Mr. Irrelevant was pretty relevant in 2022.

May 1st: Fifth-Year Option Deadline

Teams who selected players in round one of the 2020 NFL Draft have until May 1st to decide if they would like to pick up the fifth-year option on those players’ contracts. That option applies to the 2024 season.

Commanders fans will be keeping an eye on what happens with Chase Young. The buzz so far, has been that they will not pick up the option.

May 1: Free Agent Signings No Longer Affect Compensatory Picks Formula

The NFL’s formula for determining Compensatory Picks is based on teams gaining or losing players in free agency. However, it only factors in the first month and a half of free agency. Following this date, any players signed as free agents will not affect the Compensatory picks allotted.

May 5th – May 8th and May 12th – May 15th: Rookie Mini-Camps

Teams have two windows during to hold rookie mini-camps.

Some Time In May: NFL Schedule Release

The NFL will announce the schedule for the upcoming season some time in may. The NFL will usually announce an exact date for that release date in late April.

Late May: OTAs And Mini-Camps

Teams return to the field for OTAs in late May. These are “optional.”

Mandatory mini-camps will begin in June.This is often a fan’s first chance to get a glimpse of what’s in store for their team’s roster.

So let’s get this party started. The 2023 season is kicking off!


Categories Posted In | NFL | NFL Draft | Washington Commanders |