The 2015 offseason is underway, and while the 2014 season is still fresh in our minds, it's time to look ahead to some of the important dates coming up for the Falcons.
East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla. - 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala. - 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network
AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. Watch Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and returnman Devin Hester compete against the NFL's best.
The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders never missed a beat in 2014. Here are photos of the girls in action during the last Falcons game of the season against the Panthers in the Georgia Dome.
Super Bowl XLIX, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz. - 6:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Waiver system begins
The first day clubs may designate Franchise or Transition players
NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis - NFL Network
On this day, 4 p.m. ET will mark the deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition players
At noon ET, 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 2014 player contracts at 4 p.m. ET on March 10. Contracts cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. ET on March 10. This was a recent change added to the NFL year and, last year, it helped spark some contract deals right at the start of free agency. The Falcons wasted very little time getting Jon Asamoah and Tyson Jackson from Kansas City and Paul Soliai from Miami and were likely helped by the new negotiating period.
- Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must exercise options for 2015 on all players who have option clauses in their 2014 contracts.
- Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must be under the salary cap.
- At 4 p.m. ET, free agency starts. As mentioned, deals can now get done pretty quickly once free agency begins because of the negotiation period in the days leading up to the start of the new league year.
Owners and officials will congregate in Phoenix, Ariz., for the annual three-day set of meetings during which a wide range of league topics will be discussed, including the potential for rule changes.
Teams with new head coaches after the end of the 2014 regular season can begin their offseason workouts. Because the Falcons will fall into this category this year, expect things to get ramped up earlier than in years past during the offseason. Teams with returning head coaches won't be able to start their offseason workouts until April 20.
This is the deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
April 30-May 2
The NFL Draft is moved back closer to its normal timeframe after the league moved it to the second week of May in 2014. The Draft will be held in Chicago this year — the first time the Draft has been held outside of New York City since 1964. The Falcons hold the No. 8 overall selection and currently hold seven picks.
This is the first weekend teams can choose to hold their three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp.
This is the second weekend teams can choose to hold their three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp.
The league will hold its NFL Spring Meeting in San Francisco.
Teams will hold their mandatory three-day veteran minicamps.
The NFL's Rookie Symposium begins, typically held for first- and/or second-round selections. The Falcons in the past have sent their entire drafted Rookie Club to the symposium. During this time, rookies will be unavailable to participate in offseason workouts, OTA days and minicamps.
Any club that has designated a franchise player must have that player under a multi-year contract or extension by 4 p.m. ET. After this time, the player may sign only a one-year contract with the club for the 2015 season and that contract cannot be extended until after the team's last regular season game.
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. Dates, times and sessions open to the public will be available during the summer on AtlantaFalcons.com