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NFL has no offseason: Upcoming key dates, events

Think there's actually break from the NFL? You should know better

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There won’t be a much of a break, that’s for sure.

Even with the latest NFL season officially concluding on Sunday with another Super Bowl title won by the New England Patriots, it won’t take long for the NFL to be back in the spotlight, since an offseason that seems to get increasingly busy each year is ready to kick off again.

Here’s a breakdown of the key events and dates before the NFL begins its 100th anniversary season in September. 

The combine
You might be asking the question, “Who on Earth cares about watching players in Spandex lifting weights, running around cones and doing vertical jumps in an empty stadium or weight room, all while analysts describe the fluidity of their hips?”

Evidently, quite a few people care, and already the NFL world is focused on this event that starts just three weeks after the Super Bowl. 

The annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, which this year will take place from Feb. 26 to March 4, averaged 267,000 viewers a day on NFL Network last year.

Fans who love to pretend they are general managers of teams will watch intently to see which prospects will increase or decrease their stock for April’s NFL Draft.

Free agency
Feb. 19 will be the first big day on this front, as it will be the first day teams can designate franchise tags to players.

The first day teams can enter into contract negotiations with agents of free agents is on March 11.

All 2018 contracts expire at 4 p.m. on March 13, which officially kicks off the free agency period and start of the 2019 league year. 

The draft
As always, the build-up will be great for this ratings bonanza (5.5 million viewers last year) that is the signature event of the NFL’s offseason.

It has become so big it is now held over a three-day period and is at a different site each year, with this year’s event taking place in Nashville from April 25-27.

For some teams, this is their Super Bowl.

Hope always springs eternal for fans who believe their beloved team is one or two good, young impact players from seeing it become the next dominant force in the NFL.

The Arizona Cardinals are on the clock with the No. 1 pick. 

Schedule release
There’s no exact date when the 2019 schedule will be released, but it is estimated to be sometime in mid-April.

Divisional crossovers this year will be the NFC North vs. AFC West, the NFC South vs. the AFC South, the NFC West vs. the AFC Central and the NFC East vs. the AFC East. 

Camps, meetings
Teams with new head coaches can begin offseason programs on April 1, while teams with returning head coaches can do so on April 15.

Organized team activities will take place throughout May and June.

The annual league meeting, where rule changes and other issues are discusses, takes place from March 24-27 in Phoenix.