Thoughts on Upcoming Key NFL Dates

Derek Havens
February 12, 2014 at 10:00am ET

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Another exciting NFL offseason has begun as teams around the league look to make changes to their rosters for next year. Contract decisions, franchise tags, the draft and free agency will continue to keep league personnel busy for the next few months. Here are key NFL dates to keep in mind moving forward:

Feb. 17: First Day For Teams To Use Franchise Tag

- All eyes will be on the team to see if they use the tag on impending free agents like Aqib Talib or Julian Edelman. The Patriots haven't shied away from the franchise tag in the past, but they might look to work on long-term contracts first.

Feb. 19-25: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis

- A deep, talented class of players in this year's draft class.  The Patriots have seven selections.

March 11: New League Year, Free agency starts

- Teams must exercise player options, submit qualifying offers and be under the league salary cap by 4 p.m. ET.

March 23-26: Owners Meetings

- Usually some league news breaks, but in past seasons both Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick have addressed the media. This year the meetings will be held in Orlando, Fla.

May 2: Franchise Tag Deadline

- As I said before, the team will most likely look to hammer out a long-term contract before slapping the franchise tag on players. If a deal can't be reached, however, this will be a date to circle on the calendar.

May 8-10: 2014 NFL Draft

- A deep and talented class of players in this year's draft class, filled with a record number of underclassman.  The Patriots have seven selections as of now. How the prior off-season tasks play out will have an impact on the team's agenda. It's about quality, not quantity this year.

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