2014 NFL offseason calendar: Key dates to watch out for

James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

We've got all the key dates to watch out for this offseason.

SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

Super Bowl XLVIII is in the books and the Seattle Seahawks are officially "defending champions." Now, we enter a long offseason in which every team's record is scrubbed and everyone has as good a chance to make it to the next Super Bowl.

There's free agency, the NFL Scouting Combine, the NFL Draft, training camp and all kinds of stuff to look forward to. The first thing fans have to watch out for is the first day of teams being able to designate their franchise players, which is Feb. 17. The aforementioned combine follows shortly after, beginning at Feb. 19.

One big change this year is that the NFL Draft is being pushed back to May. It's still unclear why that actually happened -- nobody has a really good answer on that. Some have suggested it's due to Easter, but in reality, it's more likely that the NFL just wanted more time to hype it up and to kill some of the dead time that usually comes in June and July.

Regardless, we've got all of the important offseason dates below, via ESPN and Cincy Jungle:

Feb. 17: First day for clubs to designate franchise or transition players.

Feb. 19-25: Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

March 8-11: Clubs can enter into negotiations with the agents of players who are set to become unrestricted free agents. A new contract cannot be agreed upon until 4 p.m. ET on March 11.

March 11: New league year, free agency begins, clubs have until 4 p.m. ET to exercise contract options, clubs have until 4 p.m. ET to submit offers to restricted free agents, clubs have until 4 p.m. ET to submit a salary tender for exclusive-rights free agents, and all clubs must be under the 2014 salary cap by 4 p.m. ET

March 23-26: Owners meeting, Orlando, Fla.

April 7: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2013 regular season may begin off-season workout programs.

April 21: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin off-season workout programs.

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: NFL draft, New York, Radio City Music Hall. First round begins at 8 p.m. ET.

May 19-21: Spring meeting, Atlanta

June 16: Deadline for a club to withdraw a qualifying offer to restricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by submitting a June 15 Tender -- a one-year deal at 110 percent of the player's prior-year salary.

June 22-28: NFL rookie symposium in Aurora, Ohio.

July 15: Deadline for any club that designated a franchise player to sign that player to a multi-year contract or extension. After this date, the player can not be signed beyond that team's last regular season game.

Mid-July: Clubs are allowed 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 veterans. Veteran players may report to training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club's scheduled regular season game, or July 15, whichever is later.

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