Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 2, eight days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.
NFL calendar over the coming week
The NFL is moving into March and the business season starts to pick up the pace. Here’s a look at the league calendar over the coming weeks.
Today—At 4 p.m., the deadline to designate franchise players passes. This has no direct effect on the Redskins; they are not going to tag anyone. But there is some interest throughout the NFC East. The Cowboys are certain to hit wide receiver Dez Bryant with the tag. Giants defense end Jason Pierre-Paul also will get tagged according to some reports that came out last month. And keep an eye on the Eagles where there are conflicting reports on whether wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will get the tag or be allowed to test the free agent market.
Saturday—At midnight the so-called “legal tampering period” begins and teams can talk to agents about contracts for free agents from other teams. It’s called that to separate it from the illegal tampering period, which has been going on since before the NFL Combine. Players can’t talk to teams during this period and contracts can’t be finalized but agents can gauge the market and formulate a game plan for the start of free agency.
March 10—The league year starts at 4 p.m. Even though it’s not technically legal, expect to hear reports of free agent signings throughout the day. How active will the Redskins be under new GM Scot McCloughan? Although he has expressed a philosophy of building through the draft and a general distain for free agency it appears that the Redskins will have to fill a few holes in the open market.
Teams must be under the 2015 salary cap by the start of free agency. The Redskins have no issue here. After a few moves late last week they are about $25 million under the cap. As of today only the Patriots ($7.6 million over) and Saints ($20.9 million over) have work to do to get under the cap.
March 22-25—The owners meetings take place in Phoenix. The rules committee is usually the focus here and this will be no different this year. The Calvin Johnson rule over what is a catch, known in some parts of Texas as the Dez Bryant rule, will be scrutinizes but some are saying it is going to be tough to make substantial changes to it. They also will look at the possibility of expanding the playoffs to 14 teams, expanding the roster to 55 players, eliminating the inactive list for Thursday night games, and other changes.
Looking ahead to next month, the Redskins can start their offseason workout programs on April 20 and the first round of the NFL draft will get underway in prime time on April 30.
—It’s been 64 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 195 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL free agency starts 8; Redskins offseason workouts start 49; 2015 NFL Draft 59
If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
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