When we noted on Thursday night that the NFL is considering overhauling the offseason calendar to start the Scouting Combine, free agency and the draft later in the year, we wondered aloud whether this move was an attempt to create breathing room for an 18-game regular season, which would necessitate pushing the Super Bowl back from early February to late February.
But the league says an expanded regular season is not one of its goals as it considers reorganizing the offseason: We’re told that the NFL’s position is that the proposed new offseason calendar is unrelated to whether the regular season expands.
The league’s idea for changing the offseason includes moving the Combine back to March, moving the start of free agency back to April, moving the draft back to May, and having all 32 teams start training camp on the same day in either late July or early August. The league may have trouble selling that plan to the NFL Players Association, particularly the part about moving back free agency, which would give players less time to negotiate contracts and less time to move their families if they sign with another team.
The league has also had trouble selling the players on the idea of playing 18 regular-season games. That will likely prove to be an even tougher sell, and it may be something the league brings up only after firming up the offseason calendar.