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2024 NFL offseason calendar: Important dates, deadlines, events for Detroit Lions

Dates, events, and deadlines for the 2024 NFL offseason and how it pertains to the Detroit Lions.

NFL: AUG 08 Detroit Lions Training Camp Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sadly, the Detroit Lions offseason is upon us. With this past weekend’s Pro Bowl, we won’t see any Lions take the field for several months.

But the franchise will be plenty active over the offseason ahead with a calendar full of events, deadlines, and important dates. General manager Brad Holmes will have his hands full in order to maintain this team’s recent success.

So here’s a look at the offseason ahead, and all of the important dates to keep in mind.

February

Feb. 20 — Window opens to franchise tag/transition tag players

Looking at the Lions’ list of free agents, it doesn’t appear they have anyone they would consider for the franchise tag. The most likely candidate would be left guard Jonah Jackson, but that franchise tag would cost Detroit a projected $21.7 million. That ain’t happening.

Feb. 27 - March 4 — NFL Scouting Combine

We know just how important the interview process is for the Lions at the NFL Scouting Combine, so the whole crew will be down in Indianapolis for the week-long event. For a more detailed schedule for the NFL Combine, click here.

March

March 5 — Deadline to franchise tag/transition tag players

If the Lions want to franchise tag/transition tag a player, they must do so by March 5.

March 11-13 — “Legal tampering” period

Starting at Noon ET, teams can start to negotiate with agents of players who are set to become unrestricted free agents. This is where we often see the first deals come to fruition. While a player cannot officially sign during this two-day window, they can “agree to terms” with teams. Last year, the Lions were able to acquire Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley, and David Montgomery during the tampering period, so don’t be surprised to see some early action again this year.

Note: During this period, teams cannot talk directly to another team’s free agent, unless that player does not have an agent.

March 13 — HAPPY NEW LEAGUE YEAR + start of free agency

Starting at 4 p.m. ET, every player who was set to become a free agent officially becomes one. They are then free to talk to, visit, and sign with any other team. Players who “agreed to terms” during the tampering period can now officially sign.

March 24-27 — League owners meetings

The first of two offseason owners meetings, where new NFL rules will be discussed, along with other pressing league issues. There is typically media availability with coaches, GMs, and owners. This year, these meetings will take place in Orlando, Florida.

April

Mid-April — New Lions uniforms?

Last year, Lions team president Rod Wood suggested that new uniforms are coming in 2024. There has been no confirmation of this yet, and no date set. But the last time the Lions unveiled uniforms, it was on April 13, 2017.

Last year, the Cardinals unveiled new uniforms on April 21, so there is more recent precedent for an April release. Plus, it would be nice to unveil these new uniforms before Detroit takes the public stage for the NFL Draft later in the month.

April 15 — Lions can start offseason workouts

Prior to the start of Organized Team Activities (OTAs), teams are permitted to start Phase 1 of their offseason workouts, which mostly consist of strength, conditioning, and rehab.

April 17 — Deadline for “top-30” visits with NFL Draft prospects

Teams are allowed to host a total of 30 NFL Draft prospects at their team facility for interviews, medical testing, and timing. Those must be concluded by April 17—about a week before the draft.

April 19 — Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets

The Lions have six restricted free agents. If Detroit offers any of them a tender, the player has until April 19 to either sign the offer sheet, hold out, or find an offer from another team—giving Detroit the opportunity to match.

April 25-27 — NFL Draft IN DETROIT!

As a reminder, the NFL Draft schedule works like this:

Thursday April 25 — 8 p.m. ET — First round
Friday, April 26 — 7 p.m. ET — Second and third rounds
Saturday, April 27 — 12 p.m. ET — Fourth through seventh rounds

For a reminder of Detroit’s 2024 draft picks, click here.

May

May 2 — Deadline to exercise fifth-year option for 2021 first-round picks

Penei Sewell is the Lions’ eligible player for exercising a fifth-year option. The Lions will almost certainly do it if they don’t give him a new contract. Erik Schlitt broke down the argument for giving Sewell a fifth-year option here, including an estimate of what it’ll cost.

May 3-6 or May 10-13 — Rookie minicamp

Teams have a choice as to which three-day stretch to hold rookie minicamp for their new draft class. Remember, this is also the time in which teams hold tryouts for young players, who may end up making the team.

For the past two years, the Lions held rookie minicamp in the second window.

Mid-May — NFL schedule release

While the schedule used to be released in April, since COVID, they have released it in May. Last year it was May 11, the previous year it was May 12, and the year before it was May 13.

Late-May, Early-June — OTAs + mandatory minicamp

Teams get 10 voluntary, unpadded practices during a four-week period of the offseason. Additionally, they get a three-day set of mandatory practices.

Last year, Lions OTAs/minicamp stretched from May 23 to June 15. However, it’s important to remember that during the last set of OTAs, the Lions typically dismiss veterans and encourage their young players to stick around.

July

Late-July — Training camp

Last year, training camp began on July 23. The full training camp schedule is typically released late June or early July. Last year it was announced on June 27, with 10 practices being open to the public.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.