It's often been said that there isn't really an offseason in the NFL because there's always something going on. Under its current setup, you have the NFL Combine shortly after the Super Bowl, free agency in March and the NFL Draft in April. There is a bit of a lull in news in May and June before training camp gets underway in July, starting the cycle over again.
In order to stretch things out, the NFL is planning a proposal to overhaul its offseason calendar, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Under the proposal, the combine would be held in early March, free agency would begin in early April and the draft would take place in early May. Also, all 32 teams would open training camp on the same day in the summer. Why the switch? Money, basically.
Want to know one more reason why NFL wants the draft in early May? TV sweeps are in May. Bigger ratings, bigger dollars.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 22, 2013
Idea of overhauled calendar is to lengthen NFL off-season and make football relevant over longerperiod with one big event each month.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 22, 2013
From a football standpoint, this would give teams more time to scout and put together their plans for free agency and the draft. It would also create a bit of a quiet period immediately after the Super Bowl with the combine being pushed back to March. Then again, if the NFL ever goes to an 18-game schedule, the Super Bowl may end up being played in mid-February anyway.
I certainly get the thinking behind this, but I don't know if I'm completely on board with the idea of pushing everything back. For teams that don't make the playoffs, the offseason has already been going for a couple months by the time the combine rolls around. I guess pushing free agency and the draft back would create more anticipation for the events, but you can only read so many mock drafts before they start to get a bit old. I suppose you would create more excitement in May, which is usually pretty quiet for the NFL, but you're also taking some time away from rookies to get acclimated to their new teams.
Since we're on the topic of the NFL changing its offseason calendar, one thing I'd like to see is a proposal that moves free agency to after the draft like it was in the lockout year. Perhaps I'm alone in this, but I really liked the setup of having the draft go first. That could be because the Detroit Lions did such a good job of filling their needs in free agency before the 2011 season, but to me it creates more uncertainty and excitement with the draft. It also gives teams a clearer picture of what they need to do when free agency rolls around.
What are your thoughts on these possible changes? Do you like the idea of stretching things out or would you rather not wait around until April and May for free agency and the draft?