Just because there are no official NFL games until the 2022 season starts in September doesn’t mean there aren’t critical dates on the calendar to keep track of.
With OTAs starting up on May 23, the upcoming organized offseason activities serve as a way for teams to gel, for players to learn the ins and outs of a playbook and for the meeting with coaches to occur.
Although some offseason events have been canceled due to COVID-19 in previous years, the NFL is looking to regain some normalcy as restrictions continue to be lifted.
Here is a list of the upcoming key dates on the NFL calendar and events that are scheduled to occur during those periods:
First session (May 23-26)
Second session (May 31-June 2)
Third session (June 6-8)
Organized team activities (OTAs) run for a total of 10 days between May and June. The voluntary program gives teams the chance to meet in person and work together. The on-field workouts at OTAs do not include live contact workouts.
Mandatory minicamp: June 14-16
Unlike OTAs, minicamps are required and are intended to bring the entire team together to learn the playbook.
NFL supplemental draft: Early July (TBD)
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the NFL has held off on having a supplemental draft for the past two offseasons, and it is still unknown whether it will return. The 2019 NFL Supplemental Draft was held in early July, so if this year's draft is a go, it is expected to be around the same time.
Franchise tag deadline: July 15
This deadline is a final chance for squads to sign long-term extensions for players they originally franchise-tagged. If the two parties don’t come to an agreement, the next opportunity will not be until the end of the 2022 NFL season.
Training camp: Mid-July (TBD)
Training camp occurs before the preseason starts and gives teams approximately two weeks to get into competition mode. The breakdown of the time usually includes two practices a day, drills, scrimmages, weight training sessions and meetings with coaches.
2022 Hall of Fame Game - Aug. 4
The Las Vegas Raiders will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars to kick off the 2022 NFL preseason in Canton, Ohio. The Hall of Fame Game will take place Thursday, Aug. 4, at 8 p.m. on NBC at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, marking the start of the league's 103rd season.
NFL preseason: Early/mid-August (TBD)
Preseason is the final chance for teams to get game-ready as they participate in exhibition games before the official season starts. It gives teams the opportunity to run plays that they plan to execute and work on on-field communication. Rosters will be finalized with a maximum of 53 players on each team, plus a 16-man practice squad.
Regular season starts: Sept. 8
The NFL announced their 18-week, 272-game regular-season schedule, which starts on Thursday, Sept. 8, in Los Angeles and ends on Sunday, Jan. 8.
First game: The Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.