We are two days into the NFL offseason following the Denver Broncos' win in Super Bowl 50. While everyone will focus on the start of free agency and the NFL Draft, there are plenty of important dates leading up to and into the free agency period, both for the NFL and for the Miami Dolphins specifically.
CBS Sports recently published a list of all those keys dates, to include guaranteed money deadlines for the Dolphins. Joel Corry, a former agent and a founder of Premier Sports & Entertainment, a sports management firm representing professional athletes and coaches, which includes Dolphins offensive lineman Billy Turner, but together this listing of important dates.
Check out the full list using the link above to see some of the other players around the league who have guaranteed money coming due - which could help determine some of the veterans who hit free agency if contract extensions cannot be worked out and the team does not have salary cap space.
The waiver system begins for 2016. Players with fewer than four years of service for benefit purposes are subject to waivers and their contracts can be claimed by other teams. Players with four or more years of service time become free agents when released.
22 days before the start of the 2016 league year
This is the first day of a two-week period where teams can designate franchise or transition players. Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson are the players most likely to be franchised. Miller's franchise tag number should be $14.076 million if the 2016 salary cap is set at $153.4 million. It should be $15.434 million, $14.471 million and $13.784 million for Wilkerson, Jeffery and Norman, respectively.
The NFL Scouting Combine takes place in Indianapolis, Indiana. Meetings between agents of impending free agents and teams routinely occur at the Combine, although these types of discussions are prohibited by NFL rules. Teams are rarely penalized for tampering with players from other teams when those players are scheduled to become free agents.
The period for designating franchise or transition players ends at 4 p.m. ET. The Washington Redskins could franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins for $19.671 million (assumes $153.4 million 2016 salary cap) if a long-term deal isn't in place before this deadline.
NFL teams are allowed to negotiate with the agents of prospective unrestricted free agents during a two-day period ending at 3:59:59 p.m. ET on March 9. During the two day window, prospective unrestricted free agents can't visit teams or have direct contact with team employees, except those from their current clubs. A player's ability to re-sign with his current club isn't affected by the rule. The negotiating period does not apply to unsigned players receiving restricted free agent, franchise or transition tenders. Players who don't have an agent are also prohibited from having discussions with teams during this period.
First day of the 2016 league year
The top 51 begins. Only the top 51 salaries (i.e., cap numbers), including unsigned franchise, transition, restricted free agent and exclusive rights tenders, on a team count against the salary cap during the offseason. All teams must be under the salary cap prior to 4 p.m. ET.
The 2016 league year and free agency begin at 4 p.m. ET.
The trading period begins at 4 p.m. ET.
Second day of 2016 league year
Dolphins: Tight end Jordan Cameron's $7.5 million 2016 base salary is fully guaranteed. He has a $9.5 million 2016 cap number. Miami would pick $7.5 million of cap room by parting ways with Cameron before his salary is fully guaranteed.
Fifth day of 2016 league year
Dolphins: Center Mike Pouncey's $9 million 2016 base salary and $2 million of his $7.95 million 2017 base salary become fully guaranteed ... $6 million of offensive tackle Branden Albert's $8.425 million 2016 base salary is fully guaranteed ... Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has $3.5 million of his $17.975 million 2017 base salary fully guaranteed. All of these amounts were guaranteed for injury at signing.