Training camps are just a month away from getting underway for the start of the 2018-19 NFL season. The Hall of Fame Game will be on August 2 between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears and the two teams can report for the start of camp on July 18.
While the league year officially gets started with the beginning of free agency in March, the real meat of the NFL calendar is when teams are actually playing football.
The NFL released a list of the important dates for the upcoming season, which include roster cut down dates, deadlines to sign franchise players to long-term extensions and the start of the 2019-20 league year are all included in the list below.
2018-2019 National Football League Important Dates
Late June — Rookie Experience Transition Program to be held at individual clubs. Attendance is mandatory for all 2018 rookies.
July 16 — At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club 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 2018 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 beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players. Veteran players other than quarterbacks or injured players 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.
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 report to camp, or join the club’s roster, or receive medical clearance to practice during the three-day acclimation period are required to complete as much of the acclimation period as remains. Players who report to camp, or join the club’s roster, or receive medical clearance to practice after the three-day acclimation period has ended may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.
July 23 — Signing period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
July 23* — Signing period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 9 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, 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.
August 2 — Hall of Fame Game, Baltimore Ravens vs. Chicago Bears, Canton, Ohio.
August 2-5 — Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio.
August 7 — Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an accrued season for free agency.
August 7 — If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2018, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2019 League Year.
August 9-13 — First Preseason Weekend.
August 16-20 — Second Team Preseason Weekend.
August 23-26 — Third Preseason Weekend.
August 30 — Final Preseason Games.
September 1 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
September 1 — Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of 10 players (clubs participating in the International Player Development Program may sign one additional international player to a Practice Player Contract.) No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a Practice Player Contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player’s prior NFL player contract has been terminated via the waiver system.
September 2 — Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time.
September 2 — Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of 10 players (the four designated clubs (NFC South) may sign one player to an International Practice Player Contract.) No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a Practice Player Contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player’s prior NFL player contract has been terminated via the waiver system.
September 3-8 — In accordance with the 2018 Personnel (Injury) Report Policy, each club is required to file a Practice Report with the NFL communications department by 4:00 p.m., New York time, (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for a regular season Sunday game; Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for a Thursday game; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for a Monday game; and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for a Saturday game.
Each club must also file a weekly regular season Game Status Report with the NFL communications department by 4:00 p.m., New York time (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) on Wednesday for a Thursday game, Friday for a Sunday game, Saturday for a Monday game, and Thursday for a Saturday game. An update must be reported if there is any change in a player’s condition after the initial Game Status Report is filed.
September 6 — At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL clubs.
September 6, 9-10 — Regular Season opens.
September 25 — Beginning on the Tuesday following the third weekend of regular season games, the claiming priority is based on the inverse order of the standing of clubs in the current season’s games.
October 1 — NFL London Series, Seattle Seahawks vs. Oakland Raiders, New Tottenham Stadium.
Mid-October — Beginning on the sixth calendar day prior to a club’s seventh regular season game (including any bye week) clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, provided that no player may be activated to participate in a Week 6 game.
Mid-October — At any time after six weeks have elapsed since a player was placed on Reserve/Injured or Reserve/Non-Football Injury/Illness, each club is permitted to designate two players for return from either list to the club’s 53-player Active/Inactive List.
A player who is “Designated For Return” must have suffered a major football-related injury or non-football-related injury or illness after reporting to training camp and must have been placed on the applicable Reserve List after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the final roster reduction.
A player whom the club wishes to designate for return is permitted to return to practice for a period not to exceed 21 days. The club is required to notify the League office that the player has been “Designated For Return” on the first day the player begins to practice. The player cannot be returned to the Active/Inactive List until eight weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on Reserve.
October 16-17 — Fall League Meeting, New York, New York.
October 21 — NFL London Series, Tennessee Titans vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Wembley Stadium.
October 28 — NFL London Series, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Wembley Stadium.
October 30 — All trading ends for 2018 at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
October 31 — Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.
November 13 — At 4:00 p.m., New York time, signing period ends for Franchise Players who are eligible to receive offer sheets.
November 13 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their unsigned Franchise and Transition Players, including Franchise Players who were eligible to receive offer sheets until this date. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2018.
November 13 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their Unrestricted Free Agents to whom the “May 9 Tender” was made. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2018.
November 13 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their Restricted Free Agents, including those to whom the “June 1 Tender” was made. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2018.
November 13 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their drafted rookies. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2018.
November 19 — NFL Mexico Series, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Rams, Estadio Azteca.
December 12 — League Meeting, Irving, Texas.
December 30 — Week 17.
December 31 — Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts.
December 31 — Option exercise period begins for Fifth-Year Option for First- Round Selections from the 2015 NFL Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after December 1, 2018, but prior to May 3, 2019.
January 5-6 — Wild Card Playoffs.
January 6 — Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that have byes in the Wild Card weekend may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the Wild Card games.
January 12-13 — Divisional Playoffs.
January 13 — Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that won their Wild Card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games.
January 14 — Deadline for college players that are underclassmen to apply for special eligibility. A list of players who are accepted into the NFL Draft will be sent to clubs on January 18.
January 19 — East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.
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.
January 27 — An assistant coach, whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.
February 3 — Super Bowl LIII, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia.
February 19 — First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
February 26-March 4 — Combine Timing and Testing, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
March 5 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 11-13 — During the period beginning at 12 noon, New York time, on March 11th and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 13th, 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 at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 13. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 13.
During the above two-day negotiating period, a prospective unrestricted free agents who is not represented by an NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor is permitted to communicate directly with a new club’s front office officials (excluding the head coach and other members of the club’s coaching staff) regarding contract negotiations.
March 13 — The 2019 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
The first day of the 2019 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 13. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the League office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 13.
March 13 — Trading period for 2019 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2018 contracts.
March 24-27 — Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
April 1 — Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2018 regular season may 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 24 — Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.
April 25-27 — NFL Draft, Nashville, Tennessee.