The following are key NFL dates leading up to the beginning of the 2019 NFL regular season. Note that all times shown are New York times. These dates are provided by the NFL’s Football Operations department. A more detailed list of events as well as other information published by the Football Operations department may be found here.
- Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
- Option exercise period begins for Fifth-Year Option for First-Round Selections from the 2016 NFL Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after Dec. 31, 2018, but prior to May 3, 2019.
January 14: Deadline for college players who are underclassmen to apply for special eligibility.
January 31: Deadline for NFL clubs to try out and negotiate with CFL players who are entering an option year in 2019, or whose 2018 contracts are due to expire at 12:00 noon, on Feb. 12, 2019.
February 3: Super Bowl LIII, Atlanta, Georgia
February 4: Waivers begin for 2019
February 12: NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose 2019 CFL contracts have expired.
February 19: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players
February 26 – March 4: NFL Scouting Combine
March 5: Deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players
March 11 – 13: Clubs are permitted to contact and enter into into contract negotiations with the agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2018 player contract at 4 p.m. on March 13.
March 13: This is the last day of the 2018 league year and the beginning of the 2019 league year:
- Prior to 4 p.m., clubs must exercise options for 2019 on all players who have option clauses in their 2018 contracts.
- Prior to 4 p.m., clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
- Prior to 4 p.m., clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2018 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.
- Top 51 Rule begins. All clubs must be under the 2019 Salary Cap prior to 4:00 p.m
- All 2018 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m.
- The 2019 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m
- Trading period for 2019 begins at 4:00 p.m.
March 24 – 27: Annual league meeting
April 1: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the 2018 regard season may begin offseason workout programs.
April 15: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
April 19: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.
April 25 – 27: NFL Draft
May 3 – 6: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
May 7: Deadline for prior club to send “May 7 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., only with his prior club.
May 10 – 13: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
May 13: Rookie Football Development Programs begin.May 16 – 19: NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Invited rookies (typically, first and/or second-round selections) must be permitted by their respective clubs to attend. Such players are unavailable for offseason workouts, OTA days, and minicamps during this period.
May 20 – 22: Spring League Meeting
June 2: For any player removed from the club’s roster or whose contract is assigned via waivers or trade on or after June 2, any unamortized signing bonus amounts for future years will be included fully in team salary at the start of the 2020 league year.
June 3: 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 15: 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).
Late June: Rookie Transition Program to be held at individual clubs. Attendance is mandatory for all 2019 rookies.
July 15: At 4 p.m., deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one- year contract with his prior club for the 2019 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.
- Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players.
- Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or “injured players” (as defined in CBA Article 21, Section 6) may report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.
- Veteran quarterbacks and injured players may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first-year players.
- A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a club’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who rejoin the roster after that date may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.
July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later):
- Signing period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 7 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
- Signing period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
- August 1 – 4: Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio
- Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an accrued season for free agency.
- If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2019, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2020 league year.
- Prior to 4:00 p.m., clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
- Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non- Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.
- Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon.
- Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m., clubs may establish a practice squad of 10 players (clubs participating in the International Player Development Program may sign one additional international player to a Practice Player Contract.)
September 5: At 12:00 a.m., the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL clubs.
September 5, 8-9: Regular Season Week 1.