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NFL key dates for 2017 including free agency, NFL Draft, and more

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The NFL offseason is officially underway, with teams shifting from their 2016 review to their 2017 planning. The major events upcoming include the NFL Scouting Combine, the start of free agency, and the NFL Draft, but there are plenty of other key dates that impact teams between now and the start of the 2017 regular season.

Below, we run through most of those dates, including when Ryan Tannehill and Mario Williams have guaranteed money kick into their contracts. You will also find the start and end of the franchise tag period, when rookie minicamps can be held, and other events that will litter the offseason as we all just try to make it to Week 1.

On to the key dates:

February 6: Waiver system begins for 2017 NFL season. Teams can extend current contracts and exercise outstanding options.

February 11: NFL Regional Combine: Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Seattle, WA. The NFL launched the Regional and Super Regional Combines in 2012 to serve as a supplement to the League’s National Scouting Combine. These events are designed to provide an opportunity for lower-profile participants to display their pro potential.

February 14 (12PM ET): NFL teams may begin signing Canadian Football League players whose 2016 contracts are expired.

February 15: NFL teams may begin designating Franchise or Transition players.

February 18: NFL Regional Combine: Methodist Training Center, Houston, TX.

February 25: NFL Regional Combine, Inova Sports Performance Center, Washington, D.C.

February 26: Punter/Kicker NFL Regional Combine, Inova Sports Performance Center, Washington, D.C.

February 28: NFL Scouting Combine Day One arrivals (Place Kicking, Special Teams, O-Line, Running Backs) at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN, for registration, orientation, and interviews.

March 1: NFL Scouting Combine Day Two arrivals (Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends) for registration, orientation, and interviews.

March 1 (4:00 PM ET): Deadline for teams to designate Franchise or Transition players.

March 2: NFL Scouting Combine Day Three arrivals (defensive line and linebackers) for registration, orientation, and interviews.

March 3: Day One On-Field Workouts (PK, ST, RB).

March 3: NFL Scouting Combine Day Four arrivals (defensive backs) for registration, orientation, and interviews.

March 4: Day Two On-Field Workouts (QB, WR, TE).

March 4: NFL Regional Combine: Minnesota Vikings Practice Facility, Eden Prairie, MN.

March 5: Day Three On-Field Workouts (DL, LB).

March 6: Day Four On-Field Workouts (DBs).

March 7 - March 9: “Legal Tampering Period” - NFL teams may begin contract negotiations with the agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents.

March 9 (Before 4:00PM ET):

  • Deadline for NFL teams to exercise options for 2017 on any player with option clauses in their 2016 contracts.
  • NFL teams must submit qualifying offers to players with expiring contracts who will become Restricted Free Agents.
  • NFL teams must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to players who will become Exclusive-Rights Free Agents (expiring contracts and fewer than 3 accrued seasons).

March 9 (After 4:00PM ET):

  • 2017 NFL league year begins, all 2016 contracts expire, free agency and trading opens.
  • All teams must be and stay under the ‘Top-51’ salary cap for 2017.

March 11: NFL Regional Combine: New Orleans Saints Training Facility, Metairie, LA.

March 13: Fifth-day of new league year contract implications. Many player contracts have key dates in which a guarantee kicks in, with the fifth-day of a new league year a popular one. For the Miami Dolphins, two players have guarantees for this date in 2017: most of Ryan Tannehill’s base salary ($14.5 of $18 million) becomes fully guaranteed and part of Mario Williams’ base salary ($3.5 million of $8.5 million) becomes fully guaranteed.

March 26-29: Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, AZ.

April 17: NFL teams with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

Approximately 3rd Week of April: Some time around the third week of April, the NFL will announce the 2017 schedule.

April 21: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.

April 27-29: 2017 NFL Draft, Philadelphia, PA

May 5-8: Rookie Minicamp weekend #1 - NFL teams may conduct a three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp (either Friday-Sunday or Saturday-Monday) for rookies and first-year players.

May 12-15: Rookie Minicamp weekend #2.

May 15: Rookie Football Development Programs begin.

May 18-21: NFLPA Rookie Premiere - invited rookies must be allowed to attend.

May 22-23: Spring League Meeting, Chicago, IL.

End of May: Voluntary Organized Team Activities (each team gets two three-day periods in May).

June 2: Any player released, waived, or traded on or after this date will have any remaining signing bonus salary cap charges assigned to the team’s 2018 salary cap.

Early- to mid-June: Third scheduled OTA period.

Late June: NFL teams host Rookie Transition Programs. Rookie and Veteran Mini-camps will be held.

July 15 (4:00 PM ET): Deadline for Franchise-tagged players to sign multi-year extensions. Following this deadline, a player can only sign the one-year Franchise tender.

Mid-July: Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the clubas earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players.

Teams may start training camp no earlier than 15 days before the team's first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.

July 22: Signing Period ends for Transition Players who have not signed their tenders. After this date and until 4:00PM EST on the Tuesday following Week 10, the player’s prior team has exclusive negotiating rights.

August 3: Preseason begins with the Hall of Fame Game, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio.

August 5: Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio.

September 7: 2017 NFL season begins with Thursday Night Football Opening Kickoff.