clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL calendar 2018: Combine, free agency, draft, training camp, and other important dates

We’ve got the important 2018 dates for the NFL lined up for you.

UCAS Prepare To Help Thousands Of Students To Find University Places Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

It's going to be a long eight months until the Dallas Cowboys play a meaningful football game again, but that doesn't mean nothing is happening in the football world in between. Events like the Combine, free agency, the draft and many others help break up the monotony of the offseason.

Here's a summary of important NFL dates for the 2018 league year, courtesy of


January 27: Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.

January 28: NFL Pro Bowl, Camping World Stadium, Orlando. Four Cowboys players earned Pro Bowl recognition for their play in 2017, but that number could increase as injured players, dropouts, and players participating in the Super Bowl are replaced by alternates.


February 20: First day for clubs to designate franchise or transition players.

February 27-March 5: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.


March 6: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate franchise or transition players.

March 12-14: Two-day legal tampering period. Teams may enter into contract negotiations with agents representing the players who will become free agents at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

March 14: All clubs must be under the 2018 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.

March 14: The 2018 league year, free agency period, and trading period begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

March 25-28: Annual League Meeting, Orlando, Florida.


April 16: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 20: Start of NFL's annual substance-abuse testing program. All players under contract with an NFL club will be tested once during the period beginning April 20 and continuing through August 9.

April 26-28: 2018 NFL Draft, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX. The Cowboys currently hold the 19th overall pick. In addition to their regular draft picks, the Cowboys will have an extra four compensatory draft picks in the 2018 draft.


May 4-7 or May 11-14: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 21-23: Spring League Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia.

End May - early June: Voluntary OTAs begin (veterans and rookies). Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.


Mid-June: Mandatory Minicamp (veterans and rookies)

Late-June: Rookie Transition Program to be held at individual clubs. Attendance is mandatory for all rookies.


Mid-July: Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players.

End-July: First possible practice of training camp is 14 days prior to each team's first preseason game.


August 2: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio.

August 2-5: Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio. Terrell Owens and Everson Walls are finalists for the Class of 2018.

August 8-12: Preseason Week 1.


September 1: Clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players by 4:00 p.m., New York time.

September 2: Clubs may establish a practice squad of 10 players.

September 6, 9-10: Regular season opens. The exact dates and times of each game have yet to be released, but the Cowboys’ 2018 home and road opponents are already set.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys