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Key dates on the 2021 NFL / Patriots Calendar


Here's a quick look at some important dates on the Patriots / NFL calendar. All dates are currently tentative and subject to change.


March 1

  • Deadline for eligible college football players to notify the NFL Player Personnel department of their intent to forgo the 2021 NFL Draft and return to college.

March 9

  • Prior to 4 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition players.

March 15 - 17

  • Legal negotiating window ahead of free agency opens. Teams are permitted to contact and enter contract negotiations with players who become unrestricted free agents on March 17.

March 17

  • 2021 NFL league year, trading period, and free agency opens at 4PM ET.
  • Teams can sign new free agents and prior trades become official.
  • Teams must exercise all 2021 options on players who have options clauses in their 2020 contracts.
  • Teams must submit qualifying offers to restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents.
  • All teams must be under the salary cap before 4PM ET.

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April 5

  • Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2020 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.

April 19

  • Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 23

  • Last day of the restricted free agent signing period.

April 29 - May 1

  • 2021 NFL Draft, Cleveland, Ohio


July 15

  • Deadline for teams that designated a Franchise Players to sign a multi-year contract extension is 4PM ET. After this, player can only sign one-year contract that cannot be extended until after the team's final regular season game.


August 5-9

  • Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio.


September 9

  • NFL Kickoff Game.

All dates and times are tentative and subject to change.


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