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Key Patriots offseason dates

New England must turn its attention from Super Bowl success to annual offseason tasks, with the following important dates in mind.

Less than two weeks ago the Patriots hoisted their fourth Lombardi Trophy, once again reaching the heights of ultimate NFL success with the win over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

But a long, successful season means there is very little time between the end of 2014 and turning the page to the 2015 offseason. With minimal exaggeration, the free agency and the NFL Draft are right around the calendar corner.

That in mind, here are a number of key dates to keep in mind for the Patriots, and the rest of the NFL, as the work begins on New England trying to defend its title:

February 16First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
February 17-23NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
March 2Deadline, at 4 p.m. ET, for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 7-10Clubs can negotiate with agents of players who will become free agents at 4 p.m. on March 10, although contracts cannot be executed until free agency actually opens.
March 10Prior to 4 p.m. ET clubs must exercise options for 2015 on all players who have option clauses in their 2014 contracts.
March 10The 2015 NFL league year and free agency begin at 4 p.m. ET.
March 22-25NFL Annual Meeting (owners' meeting) in Phoenix.
April 20Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
April 24Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.
April 29Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.
April 30-May22015 NFL Draft in Chicago.
May 18-20NFL Spring Meeting in San Francisco.
June 21-27NFL Rookie Symposium.
July 15Deadline, at 4 p.m. ET, for club that has a designated Franchise Player to sign that player to a multi-year contract or extension.
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