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2018 NFL important dates: When does free agency start? When is the franchise tag window?

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

As we reach mid-February, the NFL calendar is starting to close in on important offseason dates. Tuesday marks the first of these, with the franchise/transition tag window opening. Teams will have two weeks to decide if they want to use one of the tags to protect themselves from potentially losing one of their pending free agent players. We are also closing in on the NFL Scouting Combine, which begins a week from Tuesday.

We have the updated list of important NFL dates between now and the start of the regular season in September. You can track all of the offseason events, including the start of the legal tampering period, free agency, the Draft, and the offseason training programs. Exact dates for some things are not yet locked in, and we will update this listing as they are finalized.

2018 NFL Important Dates

  • Franchise/Transition tag period opens: February 20
  • NFL Scouting Combine: February 27 - March 5
  • Franchise/Transition tag period ends: March 6
  • Legal Tampering period: March 12-14
  • Free agency and trading begins: March 14, 4pm ET
  • Annual league meeting: March 25-28
  • Teams with new head coaches may start offseason training programs: April 2
  • Teams with returning head coaches may start offseason training programs: April 16
  • Deadline for RFAs to sign offer sheets: April 20
  • 2018 NFL Draft: April 26-28
  • Rookie Minicamp: 3 days between May 4-7 or May 11-14
  • Rookie Football Development Program begins: May 14
  • Spring league meeting: May 21-23
  • OTA and Minicamp window: May 28 - June 24
  • Signing bonus spread over two years if released: June 2
  • Deadline for club to withdraw RFA offer and replace with June 15 Tender (1 year, 110% of previous salary): June 15
  • Training camp: Mid-July (Veterans: 15 days prior to first preseason game or July 15, whichever is later; Rookies: May report up to seven days prior to veterans; Quarterbacks and injured players: May report up to five days prior to veterans if rookies have reported
  • Deadline to re-sign franchise player: July 16
  • Deadline for new team to sign transition player: July 23
  • Hall of Fame Game: August 2
  • Hall of Fame Weekend: August 2-5
  • Deadline for signed players to report to receive accrued season: August 7
  • 53-man roster cuts: September 1, 4pm ET
  • Practice squads: September 2, 1pm ET
  • Week 1: September 6, 9-10