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NFL offseason calendar: Important dates, deadlines for the Detroit Lions

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The most important dates on the Lions’ offseason calendar, all in one place.

NFL: FEB 27 Scouting Combine Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This promises to be one of, if not the most important offseason, of Bob Quinn’s tenure for the Detroit Lions. The team is at a crossroads, faced with some very important decisions about several players, and with the impressive personnel capital the team possesses, they could make a big move in terms of talent in the next three months.

To help you navigate through the rest of winter and spring, I’ve put together an offseason calendar full of important dates for both the Detroit Lions and the rest of the NFL. When can teams start tampering for free agency? When must the Lions make a decision on Jarrad Davis’ fifth-year option? All of that—and a lot more—is included on our 2020 NFL offseason calendar.


Feb. 11 — CFL Contract expire

Beginning at noon, NFL teams can sign players whose contracts in the CFL has expired.

Feb. 24 - March 2 — NFL Combine

The NFL Combine for the 2020 NFL Draft class begins in Indianapolis, IN.

Feb. 25 — First day to use franchise/transition tag

This isn’t likely to affect the Lions, as the majority of their free agents aren’t worthy of the franchise or transition tags. The most likely candidate would be Graham Glasgow, but because he’s simply viewed as an “offensive lineman” and not specifically a guard or center, his franchise tag number will be around $16.1 million and his transition tag number will come in around $14.66 million.


March 10 — Franchise/transition tag designation deadline

If a player isn’t franchise tagged, they will become a free agent upon the league’s new year.

March 16-18 — Tampering Period

Teams are permitted to negotiate with agents of players from other teams that will become unrestricted free agents at the start of the new league year—March 18. Teams cannot speak with the players directly.


  • Free Agency begins at 4 p.m. ET
  • Deadline for teams to submit tenders for RFAs and ERFAs at 4 p.m. ET
  • Taylor Decker’s 2020 salary ($10.35 million) becomes full guaranteed

March 20 — Lions specific contract triggers

  • Romeo Okwara has a $150,000 roster bonus due

If the Lions were to cut ties with Okwara (saving $2.1 million in cap space), they would likely due it before this date.

  • Joe Dahl’s base salary ($1.475 million) becomes fully guaranteed

March 22 — Option bonus

Christian Jones has an option bonus of $1.8 million due between the 18th and 22nd.

March 29 - April 1 - League Meeting in Palm Beach, FL

Owners will discuss new rule changes—among other things.


Mid-April — 2020 NFL schedule released

Previously, the NFL schedule was released on April 17, April 19, April 20, and April 14. Typically, they are released on a Wednesday or Thursday, so I would circle April 15-16 on your calendars.

April 17 — Deadline for ERFAs/RFAs to sign offer sheets

If the Lions offer a restricted free agent tender to J.D. McKissic or Jamie Meder, or exclusive rights free agent tenders to Mike Ford or Dee Virgin, those players have until April 17 to sign them.

April 20 — Lions permitted to begin offseason workouts

April 23-25 — NFL Draft

Where all of your dreams are simultaneously born and crushed.

April 27 — XFL signing day

NFL teams are permitted to sign, workout or visit with any XFL player that was under contract with the alternative league at the conclusion of their season.


May 1-4 or 8-11 — Rookie minicamp

May 5 — Deadline to exercise fifth-year option

The Lions must decide on the future of Jarrad Davis, who is currently entering the final year of his rookie deal. The Lions can exercise a fifth-year option worth approximately $10 million for Davis, extending him for another year. But the Lions are not immediately on the hook for that deal. Like they did with Eric Ebron a few years back, they could exercise Davis’ fifth-year option then decide to cut him before the league year starts, leaving them off the hook for the entire $10 million.

May 19-20 — Spring League Meeting (Marina del Rey, CA)


July 15 — Deadline for franchise-tagged player to sign a long-term deal

If a franchised player doesn’t sign to a long-term deal by July 15, they have two options: sign a one-year franchise tag tender or sit out the entirety of the 2020 season.

Mid-July — Rookie training camp, followed by TRAINING CAMP MADNESS


Aug. 6 — Hall of Fame Game

First preseason game of the 2020 NFL season (teams have yet to be decided).


Sept. 5 — 53-man roster cutdown day

By 4 p.m. ET, every NFL team must be down to a 53-man squad.

Sept. 10, 13-14 — WEEK 1 OF THE 2020 NFL SEASON BEGINS