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2017 NFL League Calendar: Important dates including the Combine & Free Agency

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A look at the important dates for the 2017 offseason.

NFL Regional Combine

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 28th - March 6th, 2017, the NFL Combine will take place in Indianapolis.

There are seven regional combines that are being held, and the NFL is also bringing back the “veteran” combine, re-branded as the “Pro Player Combine.”

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.

  • Regional: February 11 (Seattle)
  • Regional: February 18 (Houston)
  • Regional: February 25 (Washington)
  • Regional: February 26 (Washington) - Kickers/Punters
  • NFL Combine: February 28 - March 6 (Indianapolis)
  • Regional: March 4 (Minnesota)
  • Regional: March 11 (New Orleans)
  • Regional: March 12 (New Orleans)
  • Pro Player: March 25-26 (Arizona)

It costs $160 to register for a regional combine, a $10 increase from a year ago. The program has provided some more exposure to low-level prospects. Over at Locker Report, they summarize which offensive, defensive, and special teams prospects from these regional combines made a splash in the NFL, including a record five draft picks from them in 2016.

Franchise Tag, Free Agency, and NFL Draft Dates

Here are some other important upcoming league dates (for the year 2017) to be aware of:

  • February 15th: Teams can begin applying the franchise or transition tag to players on their team.
  • March 1st: The final day to declare a franchise player, before 4:00 PM ET.
  • March 7th - March 9th: 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 9th: 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 26th - March 29th: Annual League Meeting, Pheonix, AZ
  • April 3rd: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2016 regular season may begin offseason workout programs. For once, this does not include the Browns. Teams with returning coaches begin April 17th.
  • April 27th - April 29th: NFL Draft, Philadelphia, PA
  • May 22nd - May 24th: NFL Spring League Meeting, Chicago, IL