If the season ended today, the Chicago Bears would go on the clock with the 16th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
And while we don’t know exactly where the Bears will pick (they’ve still got six games to play!) or whom will be picked, we know the first round of the Draft will take place on April 29 in Cleveland.
NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero shared that, as well as the rest of the tentative dates for when the 2020 football calendar closes.
• February 23: The Franchise and Transition Tag period opens. How the Bears open this period could tell us where they stand regarding Allen Robinson’s future with the team ahead of free agency.
• March 9: Chicago’s decision-makers have until 3 p.m. CT to designate Robinson (or someone else?) as a Franchise or Transition Tag player. OverTheCap.com estimates the Franchise Tag for receivers will be worth $16.02 million, while the Transition Tag at the position projects to cost $13.922 million.
• March 17: New League Year begins, and with it, so does free agency and the open trading period. The Bears project to be $7.7 million over the cap in 2021, so they’ll have some tough decisions to make to get out of the red.
• April 5: Offseason workouts begin for teams with new head coaches. This could impact the Bears should they decide to clean house if things continue to go poorly after the bye.
• April 19: Offseason workouts begin for teams returning last year’s coaches. If Matt Nagy returns for a fourth season, this is where the fun will begin.
• April 23: The final day of the restricted free agent signing period.
• April 28: It’s the last day to match offer sheets handed to restricted free agents.
• April 29 – March 1: The 2021 NFL Draft! Chicago has its own first-round selection for the first time since 2018. As of today, the Bears project to have the 16th, 48th, 80th, 144th, and 176th picks.
To be clear, these are tentative dates. As we’ve learned in 2020, even the most well-planned schedules can be thrown for a loop. But at least we have an idea of how the early part of the calendar year will shake out. As for decisions the Bears must make, there’s plenty of time in which to evaluate before making the right call.