Now that we are in full-blown offseason mode in the NFL, it is appropriate to look at the important dates coming up on the league calendar, including dates related to the combine, free agency, and the NFL Draft.
NFL Scouting / Regional Combines
The offseason isn't going to last very long, because from February 19th - February 25th, 2014, the NFL Combine will take place in Indianapolis. There are also a lot of regional combines that are being held; last year, one of the regional combines took place at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea. This year, Berea is not hosting one of the regional combines.
The regional combines are smaller combines for players who did not receive invites to the main combine. Players pay to participate, and then scouts run them through the drills. Afterwards, a video of the player, as well as all the normal measurables taken at a combine, are shared with all of the teams. Players who have been out of the league trying to get back in can also have a workout there. The media typically does not cover these smaller combines, but it's interesting to know about them, nonetheless.
|February 8-9*||Houston||Methodist Training Center|
|February 15-16*||New York/New Jersey||Atlantic Health Jets Training Facility|
|February 19-25||Indianapolis||Lucas Oil Stadium (NFL COMBINE)|
|February 22||Los Angeles||Orange Coast College-Lebard Stadium|
|March 1||Tampa Bay||Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Facility|
|March 8-9||Atlanta||Atlanta Falcons Training Facility|
|March 15||Chicago||Halas Hall at Conway Park|
|March 22||Miami||Doctors Hospital Training Facility|
|March 22-23*||Seattle||Virginia Mason Athletic Center|
|March 29||Indianapolis||Indian Farm Bureau Football Center|
|March 29-30||Baltimore||Under Armour Performance Center|
Ford Field (SUPER REGIONAL)
*Kickers and Punters Combine (February 9, 16; March 23)
Last year, it cost $225 to register for a regional combine. This year, it costs $245 to register for a regional combine, a $20 increase. Just how many success stories to the regional combines produce?
To date, there are 50 Regional Combine participants on NFL rosters, including 30 on active rosters. On 2013 Kickoff Weekend, 10 players who attended an NFL Regional Combine and/or the NFL Super Regional Combine in 2013 held 53-man roster positions and six of those 10 saw game action in their team’s season opener.
Last year, ILB Darius Eubanks was at the regional combine, as was OT Caylin Hauptmann. Eubanks was on the Browns' roster, while Hauptmann was signed by the Seahawks off Cleveland's practice squad.
Franchise Tag, Free Agency, and NFL Draft Dates
Here are some other important league dates (for the year 2014) to be aware of:
- February 17th: Teams can begin applying the franchise tag to players on their team.
- March 3rd: The final day to declare a franchise player, before 4:00 PM ET.
- March 8th - March 11th: Teams can begin entering contract negotiations with players who will be unrestricted free agents. Qualifying offers to restricted free agents and offers to unrestricted free agents who the team wants to retain should also be made during this stretch.
- March 11th: At 4:00 PM ET, free agency officially begins, and teams may begin signing players or trading players who are still under contract. Additionally, all teams must be under the salary cap at this time.
- March 23rd - March 26th: Annual League Meeting, Orlando, FL
- April 7th: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2013 regular season (including the Browns) may begin offseason workout programs. Teams with returning coaches begin April 21st.
- May 8th - May 10th: NFL Draft, New York City, NY
- May 19th - May 21st: NFL Spring League Meeting, Atlanta, GA