The National Football League has officially released the upcoming key dates for franchises, as each team begins to assemble their rosters heading into training camp.
While many players on the Los Angeles Rams roster are just undergoing another season, the fans of Los Angeles will now be able to experience each step in the process of becoming an assembled roster.
The beginning of the NFL season kicks of with the NFL Hall of Fame weekend celebrations in Canton, Ohio. The enshrining of the 2016 Hall of Fame class will occur on the weekend of Aug. 4.
The next key date on the calendar comes on Aug. 9, where two rules must be met. If a rookie has not signed their rookie contract by this date, they become ineligible to be traded to any other team during the 2016 season. Once this date is reached, they may only come to an agreement with the respective team that drafted them until the 2017 NFL Draft.
This date also pertains to players currently under contract, as Aug. 9 also marks the last day a player under contract can report to earn an assured year of free agency.
Aug. 11, Aug. 18, Aug. 25 and Sept. 1 mark the beginnings of each week of preseason games, with major roster decisions coming in-between.
By 4:00 p.m. New York time on Aug. 30, each roster must be trimmed down to a maximum of 75 players on the active list. The next roster cuts come on Sept. 3, where each team must be down to a maximum of 53 active players on the roster.
For many players hoping to make an active roster, this moment is critical. Although being cut from the team will be devastating, teams are allowed to assemble a practice squad of 10 players by Sept. 4.
The regular season is slated to begin on Sept. 8, with the Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. However, the remaining 30 teams will start their regular season on Sept. 11 or 12.
The Fall League Meeting has been scheduled this year in Houston, Texas, starting on Oct. 18 and heading into Oct. 19.
The trade deadline for the NFL this season comes on Nov. 1, as the deadline to have a trade completed comes at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
Another key date for impending players comes on Nov. 15, as it is the deadline of the signing period for franchise players to sign an offer sheet. It also marks the deadline for franchises to sign their rookies. If no deal can be agreed to, the player becomes ineligible for the 2016 season.
Jan. 1, 2017, marks the beginning of Week 17, the final week of the regular season. The Wild Card playoffs will commence on Jan. 7-8, with Divisional playoffs landing on Jan. 14-15.
The AFC and NFC Championship games are scheduled for Jan. 22, with the Pro Bowl slated a week later per usual on Jan. 29.
On Feb. 5, Super Bowl LI will be held at NRG Stadium, the home of the Houston Texans. Although this date usually marks the end of the season for football, some keys dates remain ahead for franchises.
Feb. 15 is the first official day franchises can designate franchise or transition players, which is a key factor heading into the impending free agency. The final day players can designate one of the two is on March 1.
From this point on, the schedule gradually shifts towards the impending NFL Draft, the process of recruitment and impending free agency.
From Feb. 28 to March 6, combine testing and timing will be done at Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts.
While many scouts and franchise directors will be focused on the upcoming rookies, March 7-9 is the official time franchises are permitted to renegotiate contracts with players who are slated to become unrestricted free agents.
On March 9, at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, player’s 2016 contracts will expire. During that time period, all other franchises are forbidden from negotiating with players who are not on their roster. Once it reaches 4:00 p.m., New York time on March 9, the 2017 league year, free agency and the trading period are underway.
The Annual League Meeting will commence will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, during a three day period starting on March 7.
Franchises with new head coaches are permitted to begin training camps on April 3, while returning head coaches may begin on April 17.
Restricted free agents have until April 21 to sign offer sheets, which gives franchises ample time to reach a conclusion to avoid conflict.
The last key date before the 2017 season begins is the NFL Draft, currently slated to being on April 27 until April 29.