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NFL offseason: when does free agency start? (and other key dates)

Complete guide to the NFL's important dates, like then NFL draft and combine, for this winter and spring.

The NFL Draft will take place in Chicago for the second straight year.Getty Images

What are the dates to circle on your calendar as being mandatory to "keep twitter open" for NFL news?

Here's a brief rundown on the dates and times when the ever-changing NFL landscape will, again, begin to relentlessly change once again as the 2016 season approaches:

February 22:Teams are permitted to use Franchise or Transition Player Tags on players for the first time

February 23-29: TheNFL Scouting Combine takes place in Indianapolis

March 7: This is the same as last year and is sort of complicated. Starting at 12 noon, teams are allowed to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of 2015 contracts at 4:00 p.m. on March 15. They are not allowed to reach a new contract until a week later.

March 15: The 2016 league year begins and free agency starts at 4 p.m. Teams are also permitted to make trades on this day as well. Watch out for free agent news (which will be unconfirmed for the week prior) to become official all day on the 15th.

March 20-23: Annual League Meeting, Boca Raton, Florida

April 4: Teams that hired new head coachescan begin offseason workouts. Eagles and Giants fans (among others) should get their first glimpses of their new-look teams.

April 18: Everyone else can begin offseason workouts.

April 22: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign Offer Sheets

April 27: Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.​

April 28-30:The 2016 NFL Draft takes place inChicago

May 6-9: Teams are permitted to hold minicamps in the week after the end of the draft.

Mid July: Training camps cankick off

 

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