The Detroit Lions offseason is moving along nicely now that the NFL Draft is over. Although training camp is still months away, there are plenty of meetings, practices, workouts and other events to hold us over until those highly-anticipated summer days.
With rookie minicamp out of the way, here’s an updated look at what is to come over the next 60 days or so.
May 22-24 - Spring League meeting
NFL owners will get together in Chicago next week to discuss league matters and possible rule changes. It appears there will be two key rule changes that are expected to pass: shortening overtime from 15 minutes to 10, and allowing teams to bring a second player from injured reserve back to the active roster during the season.
May 23 - Organized Team Activities (OTAs)
In less than a week, the Lions will undergo their first set of OTAs. This will mark the first time the 2017 team can run offense vs. defense drills, including 7-on-7s, 9-on-7s and 11-on-11s. Live contact is still not permitted and players will not be wearing any pads yet, but this is a valuable time for teams to develop strategy and assess their team’s 90-man roster.
Teams are allotted 10 days for OTAs. Here are the 10 dates for the Lions’ program.
- May 23-25
- May 30-31
- June 1
- June 5-6
- June 8-9
June 13-15 - Mandatory Minicamp
Mandatory minicamp essentially works in the same way that OTAs does, except that it is mandatory for every player that is under contract. Players will likely come in on Monday, June 12 for a physical, but not practice. After that, team drills will likely mirror those of OTAs. Here’s a little more on what is allowed during mandatory minicamp according to the CBA (via Mile High Report):
Three rules set forth in Article 21, Section 2(b)(iii) of this Agreement shall apply to all mini-camp activities. Two-a-day practices shall be permitted at two of the three practice days of the Club’s one mandatory minicamp, subject to the following rules: (i) players may be on the field for a total of no more than three and one-half hours per day; (ii) players may participate in one practice for no more than two and one-half hours of on-field activities under Phase Three rules; (iii) the second practice may only be for the remaining portion of the players’ daily three and one-half hour on-field activities and shall be limited to walk-through instruction only; (iv) no organized team activities (including treatment and taping) may begin prior to 7:00am local time or end after 8:30pm local time, and players shall be given at least one hour for lunch and dinner each; (v) players may only be asked to participate in Club activities for a maximum of ten hours per day including taping and treatment but excluding meal time. The on-field time limits described above shall begin as soon as position coaches begin to coach players on the field.
Late July - Training camp
The Lions have yet to announce their training camp schedule for 2017, but for reference, it started on July 29 last year. Chances are it will start very close to then again this year (Washington’s 2017 training camp has been announced and will start on July 27).
Last year, the Lions only had three open practices to the public, so don’t expect a ton of availability again this year. However, training camp typically lasts six weeks, which will bring the Lions up to (and through) their first preseason activities.
Aug. 10-11 - Joint practices with the Colts
The Lions announced back in April that, for the second year in a row, they will open up the preseason with joint practices alongside their Week 1 opponent. There will be two practices in lead-up to Detroit’s game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Aug. 13 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Aug. 29 (estimated) - 75-man roster cut deadline
The NFL has yet to officially announce the deadline for roster cuts in 2017, but the first round is typically due by the Tuesday after the third preseason game. Teams are required to get their roster from 90 to 75 by that day.
Sept. 2 - 53-man roster cut deadline
All 32 teams will play their final preseason game on Thursday Aug. 31. They will then have two days to get their roster from 75 to 53, by the (typically) 4 p.m. ET deadline on Saturday.