The 2021 NFL Offseason: Dates, Deadlines, and When to Expect Bears Things

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The 2021 NFL Offseason: Dates, Deadlines, and When to Expect Bears Things

Chicago Bears

The 2020 NFL season ended with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers blowing out Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on Super Bowl Sunday. And now, we turn our attention to the future.

It’s a pivotal offseason for the Chicago Bears. They’re on the prowl for a quarterback, need to re-tool their offense, and maintain excellence on the defensive side of the ball. All while GM Ryan Pace has just one year left on his contract and Head Coach Matt Nagy virtually on the hot seat.

The road to Super Bowl LVI begins right now. So here are the most important dates on the NFL calendar that Bears fans and the rest of the NFL should keep an eye on.

February 23 – First day for teams to designate Franchise or Transition Players. (Lookin’ at you, Allen Robinson).

March 1 – Deadline for draft-eligible college football players to declare their intent to return to school and forgo entry into the 2021 NFL Draft.

March 9 – Teams must designate Franchise or Transition players by 3 p.m. CT. *gestures in Allen Robinson’s general direction*

March 15 – The “legal tampering” period for free agency begins. It’s a three-day free-for-all where teams can negotiate with the agents of players who will become free agents. Direct communication isn’t allowed, but that’s what agents are for … right?

March 17 – Happy League New Year! Teams must submit qualifying offers to restricted free agents with expiring contracts, and to whom they want to retain compensation/right of first refusal by 3 p.m. CT.

•   All teams must be under the 2021 salary cap prior to 3 p.m.

•   All 2020 player contracts expire at 3 p.m. and free agency begins

•   The official NFL trading period begins at 3 p.m.

April 5 – Teams that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2020 regular season may begin offseason workout programs. That means the Jets, Jaguars, Texans, Chargers, Eagles, Lions, and Falcons will get a head star.

April 19 – The Bears and the other NFL teams with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 23 – Last day of the restricted free-agent signing period.

April 28 – Final day for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.

April 29 to May 1 – NFL Draft in Cleveland. The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock with the first pick in the draft. But that takes a seat to the Bears having a first-round pick for the first time since 2018. Use it wisely, Mr. Pace.

We’ll update this page as the NFL clarifies more important dates on its calendar.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.