The 2022-23 season has come to a close, and that means all 32 NFL teams are on to the offseason. As we have come to know, the NFL is a year-round business, and just because the season is over, there are still plenty of important dates on the calendar over the next several months.
In the immediate future, teams will be focused on the remaining coaching openings, which are expected to be filled in the coming days. That means the Detroit Lions will soon know if defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn will return to the team this fall, or if he will have snagged one of the remaining head coaching positions. [Note: The latest news seems to indicate Glenn will be back.]
Once the coaching staffs are settled, most front offices will be working to put the final touches on their NFL Draft boards and preparing to execute their free agency plans. Let’s take a closer look at the important Lions fans will want to be paying attention to.
February 21 through March 7 (4:00 p.m. ET)
Teams may designate Franchise or Transition Players
All NFL teams are eligible to apply one Franchise or Transition tag to a player on an expiring contract. For the Lions, they have 18 players set to become unrestricted free agents, but none of them fit the criteria that would entice the Lions to apply either tag.
Late February/early March
Compensatory picks announced—Full 7-round NFL Draft order set
There is no set date for this, but the Lions are not projected to receive any compensatory picks. That would leave Detroit with eight total picks, two on Day 1 (Round 1), three on Day 2 (Rounds 2 and 3), and three on Day 3 (Rounds 4 through 7).
February 27-March 6
NFL Scouting Combine
The NFL Combine altered its schedule in 2022, shifting televised on-field drills into primetime. The change was met with some resistance from players and fans, so the league is tweaking its schedule again this season.
Players will begin arriving on Monday, February 27, and will spend their first three days getting medical checks, as well as meeting with teams and the media. We will also hear from general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell on Tuesday or Wednesday, as they will hold press conferences at the Combine.
The televised drills begin on Thursday evening, starting with the prospects on the defensive line and linebackers, and Friday will feature the defensive backs. On the weekend, quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends will be featured on Saturday night, while the offensive line and running backs close things out on Sunday.
March 13 (12:00 p.m. ET)
NFL free agency tampering period begins
Beginning at noon on Monday, March 13, teams and agents of free agents players are allowed to begin negotiating contracts. During this time, teams are still not allowed to contact players directly, and contracts won’t become official until the start of the league's new year/official opening of free agency on March 15.
March 15 (4:00 p.m. ET)
2023 league new year begins
NFL free agency and trading periods open
As the league new year begins, a few things take place simultaneously. First, teams need to be under the salary cap ahead of the 4 p.m. deadline. Contracts that have been negotiated during the tampering period, and any currently being negotiated, are now eligible to become official. Finally, any trades that have been previously agreed upon can now also become official.
Top quarterback Pro Days
It’s always good business to understand the value of the top quarterback in every draft class, regardless of if you’re in the market for a new signal caller, or you want to know the value of your draft pick. Here’s a look at some of the top quarterbacks in this cycle including when they will hold their Pro Days.
Here’s what’s on the schedule for now:
- C.J. Stroud, Ohio State Pro Day: March 22
- Bryce Young, Alabama Pro Day: March 23
- Will Levis, Kentucky Pro Day: March 24
- Anthony Richardson, Florida Pro Day: Not yet scheduled
Annual League (Owner’s) Meetings
This is the annual meeting where the owners gather to discuss league business. Things like should Dan Snyder sell the Washington Commanders, discussion of any rule changes proposed by the competition committee, and awarding venues for the Super Bowl and NFL Draft.
At the last owner’s meetings, the city of Detroit was awarded the opportunity to host the 2024 NFL Draft, and it was announced that the Lions would be the feature team on HBO’s “Hard Knocks”. Expectations are that the Lions are due for a quiet year this time around, but Holmes and Campbell will meet with the media during this time.
Teams with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs
Teams with new head coaches can start their offseason program two weeks earlier, but the Lions—and the majority of the league—will start on this date.
Deadline for clubs to host Top 30 visits with NFL Draft-eligible players
With just over a week before the NFL Draft is set to begin, teams must wrap up their prospect's visits. During these meetings in Allen Park, players meet with coaches and front office staff, as well as go through more medical testing.
Deadline for restricted free agents (RFA) to sign offer sheets
For those restricted free agents that were tagged by their teams but decided to test the free agency market, they will have until this day to decide if they will accept another team's offer or if they want to return to their previous team and sign their tender. The Lions have three restricted free agents in 2023: Matt Nelson, Ross Pierschbacher, and Bobby Price.
2023 NFL Draft
The event of the offseason.
- Round 1: Thursday, April 27 — 8 p.m. ET
- Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 29 — 7 p.m. ET
- Rounds 4-7: Saturday, April 29 — 12 p.m. ET
At POD, we typically write over 100 articles over these three days and the following week, so there will be plenty of information to digest on the newest Lions players. At this time the Lions hold eight draft picks, including five in the first two days.
Deadline for teams to exercise fifth-year options (re: Jeff Okudah)
The Monday following the NFL Draft is the deadline for teams to make a decision on whether or not they will activate the fifth year of a player’s contract that was drafted in the first round three years ago. For the Lions, that option applies to 2020 first-round pick, Jeff Okudah.
May 5-8 or May 12-15
Teams allocate a three-day period for rookie minicamp
At this time teams can begin spring camp for their rookies and first-year players that did not play an entire NFL season. Teams can allocate days during either window to run a smaller version of three training camp practices. For reference, the Lions picked the latter of the eligible dates in 2022.
Spring league meeting
This is a smaller version of an owner’s meetings that focuses on rule changes, bylaws, and other football discussions.
Late-May through Early June
Organized team activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp
Teams are allotted 10 voluntary, non-contact practices to take place over a four-week period, as well as a three-practice mandatory minicamp. Typically, the Lions hold three practices in each of the first two weeks, then have minicamp during the third week, followed by their final four OTA practices in the fourth week.
Under Campbell, the Lions typically get close to full attendance for their first six OTA practices and minicamp, but then the Lions dismiss the veterans for the final four practices, allowing coaches to focus on younger players, while also giving vets an early jump on their summer vacations.
Training camp opens
After roughly five weeks off, players return to Allen Park for training camp. The Lions typically release details surrounding this event in late June or early July.