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February 20, 2019

A look at the 2019 NFL calendar, and how it pertains to the Eagles

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022019NickFoles Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports

Nick Foles will be very interested in many of the below dates.

As I stared blankly at my laptop for a few hours this morning trying to think of something other than Nick Foles to write about, I took a peek at the NFL calendar, wondering when the next newsy thing on the horizon would be. 

Maybe you're wondering the same? Anyway, below is a timeline of what's coming up in the NFL over the next few months, and how those events pertain to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Yesterday: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players. One day in, the Eagles have not yet franchised Nick Foles.

February 26 to March 4: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana. I'll be there for three days. The Combine is, of course, a gigantic job interview, where NFL teams will work out players physically and mentally. It is also where the entire NFL world converges for a week, and teams will (illegally, but not really enforced) begin to speak with agents about players on other teams with expiring contracts. This is when the meaty rumors begin to fly.

March 5: Prior to 4:00 p.m., deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players. Will the Eagles franchise Foles? We'll see.

March 11-13: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2018 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., on March 13. This is otherwise known as the "legal tampering" phase of free agency, even though teams have been illegally tampering by now for weeks.

March 13: Circle this day on your calendar. This is the official start of the new league year, which begins at 4:00 p.m. EST.

  1. Prior to 4:00 p.m., clubs must exercise options for 2019 on all players who have option clauses in their 2018 contracts. This does not apply to the Eagles this year.
  2. Prior to 4:00 p.m., clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation. In the Eagles' case, soon-to-be backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld is of importance.
  3. Prior to 4:00 p.m., clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2018 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit. This is relevant to K Jake Elliott and LS Rick Lovato.
  4. Top 51 Rule begins. All clubs must be under the 2019 Salary Cap prior to 4:00 p.m. (Scream emoji).
  5. All 2018 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m. This group of Eagles presently includes Foles, DE Brandon Graham, CB Ronald Darby, LB Jordan Hicks, WR Golden Tate, RB Jay Ajayi, RB Darren Sproles, WR Mike Wallace, WR Jordan Matthews, TE Richard Rodgers, OG Chance Warmack, LB LaRoy Reynolds, LB D.J. Alexander, DT Haloti Ngata, S Corey Graham, and S Chris Maragos, who are all scheduled to be unrestricted free agents, barring developments between now and then.
  6. Trading period for 2019 begins at 4:00 p.m., after expiration of all 2018 contracts. If the Eagles are to trade Foles, he must first fit under the Eagles' salary cap, while counting for about $25 million, before they can trade him.

Sooooooo, kind of a big day.

March 24-27Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona. From a media perspective, this is by far the best trip of the year, for those of you who care. Also, this is when compensatory picks are announced for the 2019 NFL Draft, for players lost via free agency during the 2018 offseason. The Eagles are projected to earn a fourth-round comp pick, as well as two sixth-round picks.

April 1: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2018 regular season may begin offseason workout programs. This obviously does not apply to the Eagles.

April 15: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 19: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets. Again, Sudfeld.

Mid-to-late April: Typically when the 2019 NFL schedules are released. You can see the Eagles' 2019 opponents here.

April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft, Nashville, Tennessee. The Eagles are currently projected to have 9 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.

May 3-6: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday. Since the Eagles only had five draft picks last year, they didn't even bother with this. We'll see if that changes this year.

May 10-13: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday. You know, if they don't have it the weekend before.

July 15: At 4:00 p.m., deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension.  After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2019 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game. If this date is relevant to the Eagles, it is likely a disaster.

Mid-to-late July: Training camp!

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