With Super Bowl LII in the books, it’s time to turn our attention to the 2018 NFL season. The Chicago Bears appear to be on the right track, but a lot still needs to happen between now and opening weekend for fans to keep the good feelings that have been built up since the 2017 season ended.
Head coach Matt Nagy has done an outstanding job in adding quality assistant coaches, and an equally as good of a job in keeping defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and his staff in the fold.
For a franchise coming off a five win season optimism is fairly high. A few good free agent acquisitions and a solid NFL Draft will keep it that way.
Cap casualties will start dropping from all 32 teams, and we’ll start to see some rumors popping up about potential targets in the near future.
Here’s the full NFL offseason calendar taken straight from the NFL Operations department.
February 5 - Waiver system begins for 2018.
February 13 - Beginning at 12 noon, New York time, NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose 2017 CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2018 season or who have an option for the 2018 season are not eligible to be signed.
February 20 - First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
February 27 - March 5 NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
March 6 - Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 12 to 14 - 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 2017 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14.
March 14 - Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2018 on all players who have option clauses in their 2017 contracts.
March 14 - Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
March 14 - Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2017 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.
March 14 - Top 51 begins. All clubs must be under the 2018 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.
March 14 - All 2017 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
March 14 - The 2018 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. 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 14.
March 14 - The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. 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 14.
March 14 - Trading period for 2018 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2017 contracts.
March 25 to 28 - Annual League Meeting, Orlando, Florida.
As you can tell, March 14th is a pretty big day. The Free agency frenzy will officially be under way!
All the Bears free agency news, speculation and rumors can be found right here.
April 2 - Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2017 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
April 16 - Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
April 20 - Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.
April 26 to 28 - 2018 NFL Draft, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX.
All of our Bears’ draft coverage can be found right here.
May 4 to 7 - Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
May 8 - Deadline for prior club to send “May 8 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a player contract with a club by July 23 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later, he may negotiate or sign a player contract from that date until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, at 4:00 p.m., New York time, only with his prior club.
May 11 to 14 - Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
May 14 - Rookie Football Development Programs begin.
May 17 to 20 - NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Invited Rookies (typically, first and/or second-round selections) must be permitted by their respective clubs to attend. Such players are unavailable for offseason workouts, OTA days, and minicamps during this period.
May 21 to 23 - Spring League Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia.
June 1 - Deadline for prior club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Restricted Free Agents who received a qualifying offer for a right of first refusal only in order for such player to be subject to the CBA’s “June 15 Tender” provision.
June 2 - For any player removed from the club’s roster or whose contract is assigned via waivers or trade on or after June 2, any unamortized signing bonus amounts for future years will be included fully in team salary at the start of the 2019 League Year.
June 15 - Deadline for club to withdraw qualifying offer to Restricted Free Agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting “June 15 Tender” of one-year contract at 110 percent of the player’s prior-year Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior-year contract carried forward unchanged).
Late June - Rookie Transition Program to be held at individual clubs. Attendance is mandatory for all 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 and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for Veteran players.
Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or “injured players” (as defined in CBA Article 21, Section 6) 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.
Veteran quarterbacks and injured players may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first-year players.
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 rejoin the roster after that date may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.
July 23* - Signing period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 8 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.
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.
August 2 - Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio.
August 2 to 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.
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 - Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non- Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.
September 2 - Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12 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. 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 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.