NFL considers overhauling the offseason calendar

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For NFL fans, the Scouting Combine is typically viewed as the kickoff of the offseason in February, the draft is the offseason’s halftime in April, and the start of training camp is when football is back upon us at the end of July. But that could change in future years.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the NFL is considering changes to its off-season calendar that would move the Combine to March, the start of free agency to April and the draft to May. The NFL is also considering having all 32 teams start training camp on the same day.

The players’ union would have to approve such a radical change to the calendar, but the NFL may be able to persuade the players to buy in with an argument that it would increase revenue — some of which is shared with the players — and make the Combine, free agency and the draft bigger events.

It’s worth wondering whether the owners are also thinking that moving back the offseason could give them more breathing room if they expand the regular season to 18 games and move the Super Bowl from early February to late February.

For NFL fans, the draft is often viewed as the halftime of the offseason, but the reality is it’s really not the midpoint of the offseason at all: It comes less than three months after the Super Bowl, but with more than four months left before the start of the regular season. Moving the draft back a month would position it as a true halfway point between the Super Bowl and Week One, and potentially make it an even bigger offseason event.

96 responses to “NFL considers overhauling the offseason calendar

  1. You gotta give the players time to acclimate to their new cities. These guys are young kids just coming out of college. You can’t throw them into the fire right away. Keep the draft in April.

  2. This idea sucks! Players union should object! This is simply a strategy to make the move to an 18 game season. It ain’t broke NFL!! Don’t try and fix it!!

  3. Can we go back to having draft weekends if that’s the case? The nfl ruined my annual draft party….who wants to watch part of the draft on a work night?

  4. How would this generate more revenue?

    The offseason is already too long, IMO, so it doesn’t really matter where events are dated.

    Love the draft in April though, gets me through the offseason haha.

  5. I like the idea. Now correct the injustice done by John Mara and give the Redskins back it’s 36 million in cap space that was WRONGFULLY taken away and I’ll order the league pass.

  6. I always thought the draft should come BEFORE free agency.

    That way, if you dont fill your needs through the draft… then you can pick up a veteran.

    This gives the rookies more time with their teams to get ready and the veterans more time to rest and heal their bodies.

  7. The NFLPA will be open to more revenue from shifting the Combine and the Draft, but not if it comes linked to an 18-game season. But wait … safety won’t be an issue, will it? We’ll eliminate the kickoff, stop tackling, and enjoy this neutered hybrid for two additional games per year … is that the idea? No thanks. The Golden Goose that is the NFL looks more emaciated every day Goodell stays in office.

    Otherwise, the offseason changes are fine with me.

  8. It is a lot of work for the team winning the Superbowl to jump right to the offseason… but as a fan… I want the schedule to remain the same. Free agency and the draft… earlier the better!

  9. I don’t like it. If nothing else, it would pretty much eliminate rookies being able to attend May camps.

    As indicated, this is probably more about setting up the 18 game season then anything else. The draft will be big no matter when it happens, so moving it to May doesn’t mean any boost in interest.

  10. For me l think free agency should start right after the super bowl and leave the draft where it is. There’s all this talk, right now, about free agents and nothing happening. That way teams can check out specific players during the combine who would fit there needs with the draft. The true football fans are left out on the players who will be on there individual favorite team.

  11. Still wouldn’t cover the “dead period” of after OTAs (June) to start of training camp (late July).
    Unless you want to include the offseason Cowboy DWIs.

  12. Goodell needs to consult with all the Fantasy Football commissioners to determine what timeline is most beneficial to the FF community.

    For example, I play in a dynasty league where we draft only NFL rookies. We aim to have our free agency and rookie draft completed prior to the opening of training camps. Pushing things back that far might jeopardize our ability to complete our off season in time.

    These FF considerations are easily the most important of all considerations. Failure to factor that in could cause a severe backlash against the NFL from some of their most loyal fans.

  13. Typically, each team has a mini-camp the weekend after the draft. Moving the draft back a month would condense the timeframe of those practices and the start of camp. And we all know how much players LOVE practice.

  14. I’m telling you: Make the HOF game the regular season opener, move the Super Bowl or Pro Bowl at neutral sites all over the country and the other at Hawaii permanently for surveying purposes on which city to use for an expansion team.

    Do NOT expand the playoff system. We don’t need to water down the competition for the postseason.

  15. this may also give teams better opportunity to scout college players, so we don’t end up with Jason Smith as 2nd overall pick, and Aaron Curry as 4th overall.

    how did these guys fail again?

  16. Roger Goodell, in his insatiable hunger for power, is always trying to change things just for change’s sake. There is nothing wrong with the schedule as is.

  17. So dumb, leave things the way they are. Could the NFL possibly be any more greedy? Or could the media shovel any more non sense to the public?

  18. Just as likely, it’s to give the owners more “breathing room” to review cap numbers and cut players who won’t renegotiate. Right now, they’re like the weekly cuts in pre-season – a team will cut a bunch of guys over a couple of days to meet deadlines and budgets. That’s a giveaway to other teams as to how strapped for cap space a team is. With extra time before free agency, a team can cut guys over a wider period of time so it looks less like a fire sale.

  19. Why would they do this? To make even MORE money. When is it enough? When will they stop squeezing the turnip?

    Not a real fan of the NFLPA but thank GOD they’re around to keep the Park Ave suits at bay. SMH

  20. “Money, money, monnnay……..”

    Leave it alone, I’d rather “my team’s” rookies and FA signinhs have extra time to learn the new system during the OTA and “free” time before camp starts.

  21. This all Goodells plan to expand to 18 regular season games. So much for player safety. He’s orchestrating this to increase revenue for the owners. They’ll need it when those hundreds of lawsuits start to go to trial.
    The Super Bowl has to fall in February because that’s a sweeps month for the networks. The puppet master is putting on a show. He has to justify that $22,000,000 salary he’s bringing down.

  22. Once the season is over, these events can not get here soon enough. I can not wait to see how my team will look for the up coming season.

  23. Football remains so popular because of how infrequent it is. By expanding to three games a week and now this overexposure, the NFL risks losing what makes it so special.

  24. Makes sense in a lot of ways. Gives the teams more time to evaluate the draft prospects and the free agents. Gives the prospects more time to prepare for the Combine and their pro days. Or allows them to prepare at a less frenetic pace. Some of the kids are going full bore from the first week of January to the end of the following February if they’re good enough and lucky enough. They get burnt out in that first season as a pro.

    Makes for a continual buildup to the season, through the months of March, April, May, into the camp workouts of June and July and the exhibition season in August.

  25. Stupid move. Yeah, watch the NFL move the draft to Memorial Day weekend and see the ratings plummet. If they want to push it back a couple of weeks thats fine, but when summer comes, nobody cares. The draft use to be on April 1st then they moved it back to the end of the month, which was logical.

    I just think that Goodell is scraping barnacles off the bottom of the boat or is Falco’ing. He needs to worry about other things like Deer Antler Spray and coaches stealing vicodin.

  26. I hate this idea. I’d rather see them move the combine to February, and the Draft to March. The Draft loses some of its luster because of the long wait. Then they should push the Pro-Bowl to the middle of summer when everyone is getting antsy for football again. Bring back the skills competition (if they haven’t already), and add a rookie skills competition and/or game so fans can get their first look at their team’s rookies in action. This would be the best possible off-season schedule in my opinion.

  27. I think the NFL forgets there is not a lot going on in Feb thru April as it is winter/early spring. May is when people get busy with outdoor activities and if they think it will increase ratings, I think they are wrong.

  28. Moving the draft to May means more rookie one wants an 18 game regular season or a Super Bowl played in late February. I swear is the worst thing to ever happen to this League.

  29. It doesn’t matter what the halfway point is between the Super Bowl and week 1. The true diehards that really care need it to be between the Super Bowl and the start o training camp

  30. Would be really nice to do that. But the problem is…If they move the Draft down to May. Then that will mean longer wait for College players to rule that they are headed to the NFL Draft.

    But I guess its a wait and see.

    What I really think the NFL Needs to do is remove the pre season and just make the NFL into a 20 game season. That will end on the 1st week of Janurary and the playoffs will roll on the following weekend.

  31. Maybe it has to do with the 18-game schedule…

    I think it has more to do with keeping fans focused on football more throughout the year. Right now as it stands, football is at a lull from the draft through the summer until the start of training camp. You move the draft back a month, you get one more month of football coverage.

  32. This has zero to do with creating a true midpoint to the offseason. It is 100% about creating room for an 18 game season, and the players should block it unless they receive HUGE concessions from the owners.

  33. This just gives us more weeks to be subjected to ridiculous things on the NFL network like asking who is the better CB, Richard Sherman or Darrelle Revis.

  34. To tell you the truth, I’ve always wondered why the heck all the team’s don’t start training camp on the same day.

    But I absolutely cannot wait until May for the draft. That’s just blasphemy.

  35. Screw that. We need a 44 week season. And the four weeks for playoffs…the players will get their two week vaca just like us!

    And the great news: there’d no longer be any need for faux sports like hockey or basketball. Baseball, sure, that’s just America…but no one would care about who actually won any more so…well, I guess that means it wouldn’t change at all.

    Go football! Go America!

  36. Great idea! The wait after the draft and before the start of training camps is too long. And it also allows for more time for a spring league that could develop players, coaches, officials, broadcasters, etc. The NFL is always looking to make improvements, and this would make sense.

  37. I don’t know about moving everything back a month, but i AM down to have all 32 teams start training camp on the same day, makes no sense to be staggered throughout 10 days or so

  38. Goodell is a mobster. the NFL has always been the most exclusive private club in America ( next to the freemasons) but what Goodell has done during his reign as commissioner is just ugly. every move he has made has been about setting the books for the gamblers and nobody notices or cares. how much has he made in the last three years? if he’s not stopped football not only will become a 9 month event but defenders will pretty mush have to let teams score or risk penalties.

  39. “Hey, you know what would be cool??? Having to wait from the end of the Super Bowl until May for some legit NFL news and excitement!” – Nobody

  40. I don’t understand why some teams start earlier than others anyway. Last year, Dallas had the least amount of time prior to a real game than any other team, after the training camp started.

    Every year that’s some team. Not sure why they do that crap. And quit making teams play an extra pre season game to play in the Hall of Fame game. It wears them out on top of the training game routines.

  41. Good Grief! Goodell wants to destroy all football tradition with his constant changes to the game…He needs to take a vacation and go away, just leave the game alone..geez

  42. I think overhauling the schedule should include a minor league that plays from Feb-July here the states, so we can see prospects for the upcoming year play for roster spots, while still fulfilling our need for football year long…I would watch if the play of my teams farm team directly affects my rooting interests? Don’t y’all agree?

  43. I wonder if Adam Schefter took the time to report why the NFL is considering the change. So many sportswriters, so little information.

  44. I have always viewed the Draft as the down hill slide to the season. It seems we have the draft and I wake up and it is Training Camp. Like the 18 game season @footballady52 🏈

  45. They’ve ruined the draft enough spreading it over 3 days instead of making a grand weekend out of it. It would be awful to ruin it further by pushing it back a month.

  46. So moving the draft to May would make the Draft “an even bigger offseason event.”? How so? I for one look forward to the Draft like the coming of Spring. Doing a “Draft Weekend” getaway with good friends, good food and cold beer. Waiting for April is long enough, waiting for May would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

  47. Move it back,as long as we can watch MLB in April football is on the far back burner,its Goodells league so he can do what he wants to do with it if he thinks its best for the can boo the decision free of charge in the offseason,goodell wont care.

  48. They should turn free agency into a big televised event like the draft. Make it a live bidding auction. Bring each key player out, 1 by 1, and let the general managers make bids. That would be entertaining.

  49. Don’t mess with the draft anymore. It’s already bad enough that Goddell put the first round on a Thursday.

  50. Draft needs to stay in the April timeframe. While the draft is there to allocate players, the primary intent is now hype and the $$ that go with it. Once you gte into May, everyone is just thinking about summer vacation.

  51. i can not dedicate a weekend glued to the television when it’s nice out in May. I’ll be at the park with my daughter. It would be sad to miss it (it’s on of my favorite parts of the year)

  52. Anything for a buck. Rookies have little time to negotiate a contract, workout and be ready to contribute in early season as is without pushing draft back. No need for a draft anyway. Tell all teams their payroll cannot exceed set amount per season and treat rookies as free agents. Stop treating players like property.

  53. That is a good job at reporting MDS, because I didn’t see this as a way for Goodell to do his “The fans want 18 games,” push. I don’t want the 18 games, so I am against this which would give the NFL the ability to do so.

  54. Have the combine after private workouts, get rid of all the guys skipping it to wait until they work out at home. And do the invite list after the mini combines, that way some of the small school etc… guys get an invite rather than a big school bust who gets invited due to school/conference reputation. Also rotate the draft around. It would be huge in the Atrium at Lambeau, or in The Cathedral to Jerry, or in the New Metrodome etc. Or make it available only to the cities not on the Super Bowl rotation list.

  55. Let’s see, they’ve got West coast teams playing at 10AM their time, even in the PLAYOFFS, they’ve got fields that are tearing players knees up right and left, and THIS is their top priority heading into the rule making period?

    Just resign Roger and make all of the fans happy.

  56. despenc925 says:Feb 21, 2013 10:01 PM

    damn I guess they never heard of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
    Nah, the NFL is federal government 2.0. If it ain’t broke, break it.

  57. I think it’s a move for two things:

    A) Add another bye week (prolong the season, increase popularity, let the players rest a bit more and increase TV revenues)

    B) Add another round to the playoffs. (see above)

    I don’t think an 18 game season is in the works…

  58. I have a better calendar:

    Bowl games are over January 7th…

    January 14th(weekend after NCG) Senior Bowl
    January 27th-31st(last weekend of January) Combine
    Feb. 7th-21st Pro Days
    Feb. 28th(last weekend Feb.) NFL Draft

    March 10th-14th92nd week of March Free Agency

    April 1st begin OTAs, mini camps etc like normal…

    I would love to have an opportunity to draft the best player available in the draft and be able to supplement what was not found with free agency..The NFL does this bassackwards!

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