We aren’t quite there yet, but soon the Cowboys players will start congregating at the Star for offseason workouts. Sandwiched around the draft is the start of voluntary workouts, then there is the rookie mini-camp and the veteran mini-camp. The CBA has very specific rules around this period of time for each team.
As per Article 21 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each club’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:
Phase One consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
Article 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that clubs may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players. This minicamp, noted below, must occur during Phase Three of the offseason program.
Each club may hold a rookie football development program for a period of seven weeks, which in 2018 may begin on May 14. During this period, no activities may be held on weekends, with the exception of one post-NFL Draft rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft. The dates of each club’s post-draft rookie minicamps will be circulated at a later date.
Given that information, here is the Cowboys calendar through the mandatory mini-camp.
- April 16: Start of offseason workout program (teams with new head coaches can begin on April 3)
- April 26-28: NFL Draft
- Early May: Rookie Minicamp (Either May 4-6 or May 11-14)
- May 22: Voluntary OTAs begin (veterans and rookies). Three OTA sessions scheduled: May 22-24, May 29-31, June 4-6
- June 12-14: Mandatory Minicamp (veterans and rookies)