Now that we are in 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
It might be the offseason, but that doesn't mean there is much downtime in terms of football discussion. From February 17th - February 23rd, 2015, the NFL Combine will take place in Indianapolis.
There are several regional combines that are being held, but the number of regional combines have been cut down from 11 in 2014 to just 6 in 2015, possibly because players with any NFL experience are no longer allowed to attend them. Also, the kickers and punters regional combine have been removed. 100 veteran players will be allowed to participate in the inaugural "veteran combine" on March 22.
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.
||Doctors Hospital Training Facility|
|February 14||Houston||Methodist Training Center|
|February 17-23||Indianapolis||Lucas Oil Stadium (NFL COMBINE)|
|February 21||Denver||Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Center|
|February 28||Baltimore||Under Armour Performance Center|
Arizona Cardinals Practice Facility (SUPER REGIONAL)
Arizona Cardinals Practice Facility (VETERAN COMBINE)
Last year, it cost $245 to register for a regional combine. This year, it costs $150 to register for a regional combine, a $95 decrease. The program has provided some more exposure to low-level prospects:
Since the program’s inception in 2012, 120 players who have participated in an NFL Regional Combine and/or NFL Super Regional Combine have appeared on NFL rosters. Two players from last year's regional combines were selected in the 2014 NFL Draft (seventh round). The rest of the players who made rosters were undrafted free agents.
Last year, TE James Oboh, OT Abasi Salimu, and K Jacob Rogers were at regional combines, and all three of them were on the Browns' offseason roster at some point.
Franchise Tag, Free Agency, and NFL Draft Dates
Here are some other important league dates (for the year 2015) to be aware of:
- February 16th: Teams can begin applying the franchise or transition tag to players on their team.
- March 2nd: The final day to declare a franchise player, before 4:00 PM ET.
- March 7th - March 10th: 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 10th: 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 22nd - March 25th: Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, AZ
- April 6th: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2014 regular season may begin offseason workout programs. Teams with returning coaches, including the Browns, begin April 20th.
- April 30th - May 2nd: NFL Draft, Chicago, IL
- May 18th - May 20th: NFL Spring League Meeting, San Francisco, CA