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For the record: Vital dates on NFL's 2013-14 calendar

By Tim Graham

For the Record Friday is back with important information to help you traverse everything from free-agent signing deadlines to roster cutdown days to the date of next year's NFL draft.

The NFL has released its updated schedule of key dates for the upcoming season and into beginning of the 2014 leage year.

• July 11, Supplemental draft (if necessary).

• July 15, Deadline for teams to sign designated franchise player to a multi-year contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract for 2013 season and such contract cannot be extended until after the team’s final regular-season game.

• July 22 (or first scheduled day of first NFL training camp, whichever later), Signing period ends for unrestricted free agents to whom a June 1 tender was made by prior club. After this date and until 4 p.m. ET on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.

• Aug. 3, Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

• Aug. 4, Hall of Fame Game, Dallas Cowboys versus Miami Dolphins in Canton, Ohio.

• Aug. 6, Deadline for players under contract to report to their teams to earn accrued season for free agency. ... If a drafted rookie has not signed with his team, he cannot be traded to any other team in 2013 and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the 2014 draft.

• Aug. 8-11, First preseason weekend.

• Aug. 15-19, Second preseason weekend.

• Aug. 22-25, Third preseason weekend.

• Aug. 27, Prior to 4 p.m. ET, teams must reduce their active rosters to a maximum of 75 players.

• Aug. 29, Final preseason games.

• Aug. 31, Prior to 6 p.m. ET, teams must reduce active rosters to a maximum of 53 players. ... Teams with players on active/physically unable-to-perform or active/non-football-injury-or-illness lists must select one of the following options: place player on reserve/physically unable-to-perform list or reserve/non-football-injury-or-illness (whichever applicable); request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the active roster.

• Sept. 1, Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at noon ET. ... Beginning at noon ET, teams may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 46-player active list for less than nine regular-season games. A player cannot be on a practice squad for more than three seasons.

• Sept. 3, After 4 p.m. ET, a tea, is permitted to place a player on reserve/injured as "designated for return."

• Sept. 4, Deadline for all NFL player contracts, practice player contracts, tender offers and miscellaneous amounts to fit within each club's 2013 salary cap in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule.

• Sept. 5, Top 51 Rule expires for all teams at noon ET.

• Sept. 5, 8-9, Regular season opens.

• Sept. 24, On waiver claims, priority is based on the inverse order of the standings.

• Oct. 7-9, Fall league meeting in Washington D.C.

• Oct. 15, Through Week 11, teams are permitted to begin practicing players on reserve/physically unable-to-perform and reserve/non-football-injury-or-illness lists for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period or prior to 4 p.m. ET on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period.

• Oct. 29, Trade deadline at 4 p.m. ET.

• Oct. 30, Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.

• Nov. 12, At 4 p.m. ET, signing period ends for franchise players who are eligible to receive offer sheets. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2013. ... Deadline for teams to sign unrestricted and restricted free agents to whom the "June 1 Tender" was made and draft picks. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2013.

• Nov. 29, Deadline at 4 p.m. ET for reinstatement of players listed as retired, did not report and exclusive rights and players who were placed on reserve/left squad in a previous season.

• Dec. 30, Teams may begin signing free agents for 2014 season. ... Earliest permissible date for teams to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2011 NFL draft.

• Jan. 4-5, Wild-card playoff games.

• Jan. 5, Assistant coaches under contract to playoff teams with byes on wild-card weekend may be interviewed for head-coaching positions through the conclusion of the wild-card games.

• Jan. 11-12, Divisional playoff games.

• Jan. 12, Assistant coaches under contract to playoff teams that won their wild-card games may be interviewed for head-coaching positions through the conclusion of divisional playoff games.

• Jan. 19, AFC and NFC Championship Games.

• Jan. 25, Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

• Jan. 26, Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. ... An assistant coach whose team is participating in the Super Bowl and who has previously interviewed for another team’s head-coaching job may have a second interview no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.

• Feb. 2, Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands.

• Feb. 3, Waiver system begins for 2014. A 24-hour claiming period will be in effect through the Friday prior to the last regular-season game. Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons whom a club desires to terminate are not subject to the waiver system until after the trading deadline.

• Feb. 17, Teams may designate franchise or transition players.

• Feb. 19-25, NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Ind.

• March 3, Deadline for teams to designate franchise or transition players at 4 p.m ET.

• March 8-11, Teams are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2013 player contracts on March 11. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. ET on March 11.

• March 11, Teams must exercise options for 2014 on all players who have option clauses in their 2013 contracts by 4 p.m. ET. ... Teams must submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a right of first refusal/compensation by 4 p.m. ET. ... Teams must submit a minimum-salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2013 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

• March 11, All 2013 player contracts will expire at 4 p.m. ET. ... The 2014 league year and free-agency period begin at 4 p.m. ET. ... Trading period for 2014 begins at 4 p.m. after expiration of all 2013 contracts.

• March 23-26, NFL owners meeting in Orlando, Fla.

• April 7, Teams that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2013 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.

• April 21, Teams with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

• May 2, Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.

• May 7, Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.

• May 8-10, 2014 NFL draft in New York.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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