In an attempt to extend the offseason, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday night that the NFL would like to push back the start date of the NFL Combine, free agency, and the NFL Draft in the future. Included in the proposition is the fact that every team in the league would also begin their training camps on the same day.
Specific dates aren't included in Schefter's report. Instead, he lists generalities, such as the NFL Combine being pushed back to "early" March, free agency being pushed back to "early" April, and the draft being pushed back to "early" May.
Just how different would the offseason schedule look if the proposals were put through? Let's take a look at a hypothetical situation in which the changes were implemented next year. I will use the same days of the week that this year's events start on, combined with interpreting the word "early" meaning some time in the first two weeks of the month.
Hypothetical NFL Offseason Schedule Comparison
|Event||2013 (Current) ||2014 (Proposal)
|NFL Combine||February 20-26||March 5-11|
|Free Agency||March 12||April 1|
|NFL Draft||April 25-27||May 8-10|
All things considered, it would not be too much of a change, as each event would only be getting pushed back about 2-3 weeks. A benefit is that it can give teams more time in the offseason to formulate their game plan, and it would especially help out teams who have undergone head coaching changes. For example, new Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski said at the Combine today that he's been so focused on evaluating the current Browns roster that he hasn't had the chance to seriously evaluate the draft prospects.
The proposal would have to be approved by the NFLPA, and that's where ESPN's John Clayton thinks it will hit a road block. He raises a good point regarding free agency -- players who are set to become free agents are anxious to sign with a new club or find out if they'll even be on an NFL team the following season. Pushing that back, even just a couple of weeks, might not go over well. Also, you have to consider the changes that the proposal might have on when teams' minicamps and offseason training activities are held.
What do you guys think about the proposal? If it went through, it would kind of "balance out" the amount of down time that occurs after the Super Bowl with the down time that occurs after the draft. As it stands now, there is an extended down time once the draft ends up until training camp begins.