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No delay to the NFL Draft or Free Agency

We have the latest on the NFL’s offseason schedule right here including all the key dates.

NFL: APR 26 2019 NFL Draft Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

BEARS UPDATE: The team announced that Halas Hall is closed until further notice, meaning no press conferences to announce any free agent signings. The team will hold conference calls when they have news to share.

UPDATE: March 16, 2020 - According to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the NFL Draft will not be delayed, but they will cancel the public events that were scheduled to be in Las Vegas.” He also reports that, “the league is exploring innovative ways for how the process will be conducted.”

UPDATE: March 15, 2020 - With several venues in Las Vegas shutting down, it’s looking more and more likely that the 2020 draft will not take place as originally planned.

UPDATE: March 15, 2020 - The NFL will not delay the start of free agency according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network. The early negotiating window opens at 11:00 a.m. (CT) on Monday (tomorrow) with free agency officially opening at 3:00 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, March 18.

Are you ready for the free agency frenzy to get started?

UPDATE: March 14, 2020 - Shaw Media’s Hub Arkush is reporting that the NFL has pulled the NFL Draft from Las Vegas and they plan to move it to a date in May. An official announcement could come on Sunday after the league makes an announcement on the new CBA, which was approved.

However, Vincent Bonsignore who covers the Raiders for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, says Hub’s report is false citing NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy as his source.

Once we have more concrete info we’ll pass it along right here and we’ll also update the schedule accordingly.

March 12, 2020 - As of right now, the NFL has no plans to change the start of the league year, March 18, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Things could obviously change, but for now it’s (kind-of) business as usual for the National Football League.

The NFL did close their offices today and several teams have altered their pre-draft travel plans. Erik Burkhardt from Select Sports Group, LLC tweeted out that the NFL has cancelled all draftee facility visits due to the COVID-19 concern, however the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that isn’t mandated by the NFL and is at each team’s discretion. EDIT: It’s now being reported that the NFL has stopped all pre-draft visits.

NBC Sports’ Adam Hoge is reporting that, “According to multiple sources, the league is also discussing contingency plans for the NFL Annual Meeting, scheduled for Mar. 29-Apr. 1 in Palm Beach, Fla., and the NFL Draft, scheduled for Apr. 23-25 in Las Vegas.”

UPDATE: Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the NFL has cancelled their annual spring meeting.

UPDATE: The Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson is reporting that NFL teams are in the process of setting up video and phone conferences with draft prospects.

  • BEARS UPDATE: From the Bears PR Twitter feed, they’ve announced that they have cancelled their April 24 Draft Party.
  • BEARS UPDATE: The Bears have announced that they’ve suspended business air travel for team personnel and postponed draft prospects visits to Halas Hall. They’ve also closed both offices and have asked employees to work from home on Friday, March 13, and they will monitor the situation moving forward.

UPDATE: The XFL announced that they have cancelled their season and Tom Pelissero is reporting that all their players are free to sign elsewhere once they complete their exit physicals. I would expect a few players to get picked up in the NFL.

Here’s the 2020 NFL Offseason Schedule

If the league announces any changes we’ll update accordingly.

  • March 16: Deadline teams can designate franchise or transition players is 10:59:59 a.m. CT, with the early negotiating window opening for free agency 1 second later.
  • March 18: The 2020 League year starts at 3:00 PM Central
    * NFL Free Agency opens (The real news will start to leak during the 2 day early negotiating window)
    * Trading is allowed
    * Deadline that teams must tender a qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents to retain a right of first refusal and/or receive compensation
    * Deadline that teams must submit a minimum salary tender to their exclusive rights free agents to retain exclusive negotiating rights
  • March 29 - April 1: Annual League Meeting Cancelled
  • April 7: The Ed Block Courage Award will be presented
  • April 17: Deadline that restricted free agents must sign their offer sheets
  • April 21: The Bears will present their Brian Piccolo Awards
  • April 21: Ryan Pace is scheduled for a pre-draft press conference
  • April 23 - 25: The NFL Draft (The Bears are currently not slated to pick in the first round on 4/23)
  • April 27: Beginning this date, NFL clubs may request permission to visit with, try out, or sign any player who was under contract to the XFL at the conclusion of the XFL season. The XFL cancelled their season
  • May 8 - 10: Bears rookie mini-camp at Halas Hall
  • May 16: Bears Care Gala
  • May 19 - 20: Spring League Meeting
  • May 27 - 29: Organized Team Activities (OTA)
  • May 30: Deadline to pick up the 5th year option on 2017 first round draft picks like Mitchell Trubisky
  • June 2 - 4: OTA
  • June 8 - 11: OTA
  • June 16 - 18: Mandatory mini-camp
  • August 6: Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio
  • August 6 - 9: Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio
  • September 5: Teams must announce their 53-man regular season roster
  • September 6: Teams can sign players to their 10-man practice squad beginning at Noon Central
  • September 18: Bears’ legends, Jimbo Covert and Ed Sprinkle will be among 10 senior-era Hall of Famers enshrined at the NFL’s Centennial Celebration

The regular season will kick off on Thursday, September 10, and the NFL will announce their full 2020 schedule sometime in April.