Here's a quick look at some important dates on the Patriots / NFL calendar. All dates are currently tentative and subject to change.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2020 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
- Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
- Last day of the restricted free agent signing period.
April 29 - May 1
- 2021 NFL Draft, Cleveland, Ohio
- 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.
- Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio.
- NFL Kickoff Game.
All dates and times are tentative and subject to change.