The 2013 NFL season is over. So what does that mean? Time to move on to 2014 of course. The Arizona Cardinals finished third in the NFC West with an impressive 10-6 record. It wasn’t good enough to get into the playoffs this year but as the old saying goes, there is always next year. With that in mind, here are the important dates on the NFL calendar as we head into the off-season and the 2014 season. Pay attention to March 11. That is a huge day for the NFL.
February 3 – NFL Waiver system for 2014 begins
February 17 – First day NFL teams can designate Franchise or Transition players
February 19-25 – NFL Combine, Indianapolis
March 3 – Deadline to designate Franchise or Transition players
March 8 – Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2013 Player Contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 11. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 11
March 11 – Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2014 on all players who have option clauses in their 2013 contracts; Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit Qualifying Offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation; Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2013 contracts and who have fewer than three Accrued Seasons of free agency credit; All clubs must be under the 2014 Salary Cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time; All 2013 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time; The 2014 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time; Trading period for 2014 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2013 contracts
*The first day of the 2014 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 11. clubs will receive a Personnel Notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 11
March 23-26 — Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida
April 7 — Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2013 regular season may begin offseason workout programs
Mid-April – 2014 NFL Schedule will be released
April 21 — Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs. (Hint: this is the date for the Cardinals)
May 2 — Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets
May 7 — Deadline for Prior Club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents
May 8-10 — 2014 NFL Draft, New York City, New York
May 19-21 — NFL Spring League Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia.
June 2 — Deadline for Prior Club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a Player Contract with a Club by July 22 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later, he may negotiate or sign a Player Contract from that date until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, at 4:00 p.m., New York time, only with his Prior Club; Deadline for Prior Club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Restricted Free Agents who received a Qualifying Offer for a Right of First Refusal Only in order for such player to be subject to the CBA’s “June 15 Tender” provision
June 16 — Deadline for club to withdraw Qualifying Offer to Restricted Free Agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting “June 15 Tender” of one-year contract at 110 percent of the player’s prior-year Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior-year contract carried forward unchanged).
June 22-28 — Rookie Symposium, Aurora, Ohio
July 15 — At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any Club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multi-year contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his Prior Club for the 2014 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the Club’s last regular season game
July 22 — Signing Period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “June 1 Tender” was made by Prior Club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, Prior Club has exclusive negotiating rights. (* or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.); Signing Period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, Prior Club has exclusive negotiating rights
Mid-Late July: NFL Training Camps open
September 4, 7-8 – NFL Kickoff Weekend 2014