The NFL’s busy offseason includes the Combine, free agency and the draft. Grab a calendar and mark down these key dates that impact the Bears leading up to the 2019 season:
January 19: East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.
January 19: NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California.
January 20: AFC and NFC Championship Games.
January 26: Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.
January 27: NFL Pro Bowl, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida.
February 3: Super Bowl LIII, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia.
February 4: Waiver system begins.
February 12: Beginning at 11 a.m. (CT), NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2019 season or who have an option for the 2019 season are not eligible to be signed.
February 19: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
February 26-March 4: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
March 5: Prior to 3 p.m. (CT), deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 11-13: Beginning at 11 a.m. (CT) on March 11, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2018 player contracts. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 3 p.m. (CT) on March 13.
March 13: Prior to 3 p.m. (CT), clubs must exercise options for 2019 on all players who have option clauses in their 2018 contracts.
March 13: Prior to 3 p.m. (CT), clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
March 13: Prior to 3 p.m. (CT), clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2018 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.
March 13: Top 51 begins. All clubs must be under the 2019 salary cap prior to 3 p.m. (CT).
March 13: All 2018 player contracts will expire at 3 p.m. (CT).
March 13: The 2019 league year and free agency period begin at 3 p.m. (CT).
March 13: The first day of the 2019 league year will end at 10:59:59 p.m. (CT) on March 13. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 3 p.m. and 10:59:59 p.m. (CT) on March 13.
March 13: Trading period for 2019 begins at 3 p.m. (CT) after expiration of all 2018 contracts.
March 24-27: Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
April 1: Teams with new head coaches can begin offseason workout programs.
April 15: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
April 19: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.
April 25-27: NFL Draft, Nashville, Tennessee.
May 3-6 or 10-13: Clubs can hold three-day rookie minicamp.
May 7: Deadline for clubs to send “May 7 Tender” to unsigned UFAs.
May 13: Rookie Football Development Programs begin.
May 16-19: NFLPA Rookie Premiere.
May 20-22: Spring League Meeting, Key Biscayne, Florida.
June 2: For any player removed from a club’s roster or whose contract is assigned via waivers or trade on or after June 2, any unamortized signing bonus amounts for future years will be included fully in team salary at the start of the 2020 league year.
June 3: Deadline for prior clubs to send “June 1 tender” to their unsigned RFAs who received a qualifying offer for a right of first refusal only in order for such player to be subject to the CBA’s “June 15 Tender” provision.
June 7-9: Bears100 Celebration Weekend, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont.
June 15: Deadline for clubs to withdraw qualifying offer to RFAs and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting “June 15 Tender” of one-year contract at 110 percent of the player’s prior-year Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior-year contract carried forward unchanged).
Late June: Rookie Transition Program to be held at individual clubs. Attendance is mandatory for all rookies.
July 15: At 3 p.m. (CT), deadline for any clubs that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one- year contract with his prior club for the 2019 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular-season game.
Mid July: Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for Veteran players. Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or “injured players” (as defined in CBA Article 21, Section 6) may report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later. Veteran quarterbacks and injured players may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first-year players. A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a club’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who rejoin the roster after that date may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.
*July 22: Signing period ends for UFAs to whom a “May 7 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 3 p.m. (CT) on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
* or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.
July 22: Signing period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 3 p.m. (CT) on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
August 1: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio.
August 1-4: Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio
August 6: Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an accrued season for free agency. If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2019 and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the draft in the 2020 league year.
August 31: Prior to 3 p.m. (CT), clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players.
September 1: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 11 a.m. (CT).
September 1: Clubs may establish a practice squad of 10 players.
September 5: NFL regular season begins.
Take a look at the 20 Bears players officially slated to become unrestricted, restricted or exclusive restricted free agents when the NFL's free agency period begins.