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2018 NFL offseason calendar: Key dates for the Detroit Lions

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Here are some of the most important offseason dates for the Detroit Lions.

USA, Michigan, Detroit, Ford Field... Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

The NFL offseason is long and arduous. But they say that there never is really an offseason in the NFL, and for good reason. In just about every week of the year, there is some NFL news to digest, and that’s thanks to a crowded offseason littered with combines, drafts, meetings, practices and more.

With a new head coach in place and a team on the verge of being a true competitor, this may be the Detroit Lions’ biggest offseason in at least two decades. So here are some of the most important offseason dates for the Detroit Lions.

February

February 13 - Teams can start signing players whose CFL contract expired by noon

February 20 - NFL teams can start designating the franchise or transition tags.

  • Ezekiel Ansah is a prime candidate to receiver the franchise tag, but the Lions haven’t used the tag since 2012 (Cliff Avril)

February 27 - March 5 - NFL Scouting Combine

March

March 6 - 4 p.m. ET deadline to use the franchise/transition tag

March 12-14 - “Legal tampering period.” Teams may begin to negotiate with players who will become free agents on March 12

March 14 4 p.m. ET - Deadline for teams to submit qualifying offers for restricted free agents

March 14 4 p.m. ET - Start of free agency.

March 25-28 - Annual league meeting

  • Roger Goodell stated that the league will be considering new changes to the catch rule, among other important topics

April

April 2 - Teams with new head coaches may begin offseason workouts

April 16 - All other teams may begin offseason workouts

April 20 - Deadline for restricted free agents to sign their offer sheets

April 26-28 - 2018 NFL Draft

May

May 4-7 - First of two windows for NFL teams to hold three-day rookie minicamp

May 11-14 - Second of windows for NFL teams to hold three-day rookie minicamp

May 21-23 - Spring League meeting

July

July 16 - Deadline for any franchised players to reach a multi-year contract

“Mid-July” (exact date TBD): Training camp begins!

August

August 2 - Hall of Fame Game (Bears vs. Ravens)

September

September 1 - 53-man cut-down day. Teams must be at 53 players by 4 p.m. ET.

September 2 - At 1 p.m. ET, teams can start building their 10-man practice squad

September 6 - NFL THURSDAY NIGHT SEASON OPENER

September 9-10 - NFL 2018 season Week 1