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Important NFL offseason dates to remember

What is next for Les Snead and the Rams?

NFL: Super Bowl LVII-Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams are no longer the reigning Super Bowl champions. That mantle has now moved to the Kansas City Chiefs, who took down the Philadelphia Eagles in a last minute victory last night.

The Rams will now spend the 2023 offseason retooling for a return to contention, so what is on the docket for general manager Les Snead?

These are the important offseason dates that you should commit to memory:

Window to apply franchise or transition tag:

February 21st - March 7th

Los Angeles does not have a candidate this year for either tag, though the Baltimore Ravens will likely apply the franchise tag to quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Saquon Barkley is another name to watch, as the New York Giants may prefer a one-year commitment over a multi-year investment.If the Washington Commanders do not tag defensive lineman Daron Payne, he will likely be a top name on the open market.

NFL Scouting Combine:

February 28th - March 6th

Perhaps the most important business that takes place here are the physicals and health checks on the prospective players, but it’s also a hot bed for rumors and deal making ahead of free agency and the draft.

The event is still in Indianapolis, IN this year, but for how much longer will that be the case? The NFL is only committed to the location through 2024.

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agency Negotiation Period:

March 13th-15th

“Negotiation period” sounds much better than “legal tampering period”.

Players set to hit unrestricted free agency can begin discussions on deals with other teams, though the contract cannot be finalized/executed until 4:00PM on March 15th.

Deadline to extend qualifying offers to RFA’s:

March 15th at 4:00pm ET

Restricted free agents have not yet accumulated the accrued seasons required for unrestricted free agency, which allows their current team the option to extend a qualifying offer at three compensation levels: first round, second round, and original drafted round (UDFA’s essentially offered a minimum deal with right of first refusal).

At the onset of free agency, outside teams are able to negotiate with and extend contract offers to RFA’s. The original team has the option to match the offered contract or allow the RFA to join the other team. If the player walks, the original team receives a draft pick from the signing team that matches the round of the qualifying offer.

For example, if a RFA has a first round qualifying offer, it would require an original first round pick from the signing team. That could be first overall or 32nd, but the original team must take that into account when weighing if they will match the offer. Traded picks also cannot be used to sign restricted free agents, so teams with multiple picks in a round cannot choose between them and teams that have traded away picks are unable to sign an RFA with a tender in that round.

New league year begins:

March 15th at 4:00pm ET

Free agents are now able to openly negotiate and execute contracts with other teams.

The Top 51 rule applies in regards to salary cap, meaning that all teams must be under the salary cap based on the contract commitments to their 51 highest-paid players.

Any agreed-upon trades can now become official. For example, the Detroit Lions and Rams swapped Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford before the Super Bowl in 2021 but the trade did not become official until the new league year. Team cannot publicly discuss the trade at that point either or they are in jeopardy of tampering penalties.

Teams can also designate up to two player contracts for termination post-June 1, which allows some flexibility in terms of dead money against the salary cap (depending on structure of contract).

Offseason workouts:

April 3rd for teams with new head coaches

April 17th for teams with returning head coaches

NFL: DEC 25 Broncos at Rams Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Restricted free agent deadlines:

April 21st - last day for players to sign offer sheets from other teams

April 26th - last day for original team to exercise right of first refusal

These are the Rams’ RFA’s heading into the 2023 offseason. Exclusive rights free agents (EFRA) are unable to negotiate with other teams.

  • Jake Gervase, MLB (EFRA)
  • Jacob Harris, WR (EFRA)
  • Michael Hoecht, OLB (EFRA)
  • Christian Rozeboom, MLB (EFRA)
  • Shawn Jolly, CB (EFRA)
  • John Wolford, QB
  • Bryce Perkins, QB
  • Grant Haley, CB
  • Chandler Brewer, OG/OT
  • Marquise Copeland, DT

NFL Draft:

April 27th-29th

The event will be held in Kansas City this year. The Rams do not have a first round pick, but they figure to have up to 10 after compensatory selections are awarded.