NFL Offseason 2024: Key dates for free agency, NFL Draft & more – Metro US

NFL Offseason 2024: Key dates for free agency, NFL Draft & more

FILE – The NFL logo is shown on the field before an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. The NFL’s salary cap for 2024 will be $255.4 million, up a record $30.6 million from last year.(AP Photo/Matt Patterson, File)

We’re a few weeks removed from the thrilling conclusion to Super Bowl 58, and the wait for the NFL offseason has been a long one. The good news is that there isn’t that much longer separating fans from blockbuster moves and the excitement of the NFL Draft.

We’ve made a handy guide for those looking to circle some key dates ahead of the NFL offseason.

The NFL Combine: February 27th- March 4th

Prospect showcases are often regarded as the first steps on the road to the NFL Draft, but the second is always the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. It’s where all 32 teams get to see how this year’s prospects test athletically, as well as holding meetings to get to know them better.

Franchise/transition tag deadline: March 5th

The deadline for the franchise tag this offseason takes place just one day after the NFL Combine. There are plenty of big names to watch during this window, with teams scrambling to secure the short-term futures of budding stars who they might not yet be able to work out a long-term deal at this point.

Giants RB Saquon Barkley and Panthers EDGE Brian Burns headline a crop of players that involves Tee Higgins, Chris Jones, and Antoine Winfield. Depending on how things go over the next few weeks, these decisions could have a huge impact on the free agency market.

The new league year will commence on March 13th, and pending free agents are still contracted until 1PM PST that day. However, teams can actually reach out to pending free agents from other franchises two days before this deadline, opening the doors for some chaotic moves.

This year’s free agency class is headlined by Chris Jones and the players we mentioned earlier, but there are other names to note. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins could be a valuable pickup for a franchise looking to bridge the gap to a rookie QB, but would likely come at a hefty cost if the Vikings let him walk.

Other key names include Bears CB Jaylon Johnson, Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr., and Pats Safety, Kyle Dugger.

WR Calvin Ridley will be a fun name to watch. He was suspended for the duration of the 2022 campaign due to sports gambling, but proved he’s still got gas in the tank in 2023. Will a team be willing to give him a long-term contract this offseason?

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) reacts after getting a pass interference call during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Miami Dolphins, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

How about RB Derrick Henry? He might have been run into the ground during his time at Tennessee, but he’s still an extremely dominant back who would be a valuable addition to most backfields in the NFL.

Make sure to strap in, free agency is bound to be a wild ride.

Offseason programs receive the green light: April 15th

April 15th marks the first day that the team is permitted to get the gang back together. Every team handles this period differently, with some being more flexible than others. However, you’ll likely see the majority of NFL players report to their team facilities on dates around this mark to begin their offseason training.

Kansas City Chiefs guard Trey Smith cries after winning the NFL Super Bowl 58 football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in Las Vegas. The Chiefs won 25-22. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Restricted free agent deadline: April 19th

The deadline for teams to sign their Restricted Free Agents is April 19th. This isn’t a huge deadline in the grand scheme of things, but one worth keeping an eye on. You can check how many players your team has listed as RFA’s by visiting sites like Spotrac.

2024 NFL Draft: April 25th to 27th

The jewel in the crown of the offseason is the NFL Draft, which will take place in Detroit this year. The draft will start at 8PM EST on the 25th and last the entire weekend. Every mock draft, every prospect showcase, combine drill, it all leads to this.

AP Photo/Matt Patterson, File