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New Orleans Saints 2015: Notable NFL Dates

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After a spectacular end to Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona Sunday night, the 2014 NFL season has officially come to a close.  That means the 2015 offseason is underway, so here are some important dates for the New Orleans Saints and other organizations to look forward to.

FEBRUARY

Feb. 16:

– First day for teams to designate franchise or transition players.

Feb. 17-23:

– NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, IN.

MARCH

March 2:

– Deadline for teams to designate franchise or transition players hits at 4:00 PM EST.

March 7-10:

– Teams are permitted to contact and begin contract negotiations with certified unrestricted free agents, no deals can be finalized until 4:00 PM EST on March 10.

March 10:

– Prior to 4:00 PM EST, teams must exercise options for 2015 on all players who have option clauses in their contracts.

– Prior to 4:00 PM EST, teams must submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

– Prior to 4:00 PM EST, teams must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2014 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued season of free agency credit.

– Top-51 begins — all teams must be under the 2015 salary cap before the 4:00 PM EST deadline.

– The 2015 league year and free agency period officially begin at 4:00 PM EST.

March 22-25:

– NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ.

APRIL

April 6:

– Teams that hired a new head coach after the end of 2014 may begin offseason workout programs.

April 20:

– Teams with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 24:

– Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.

April 30-May 2:

– NFL Draft in Chicago, IL.

MAY

May 8-11:

– First weekend after NFL Draft where teams may choose to hold their three-day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday-Sunday or Saturday-Monday.

May 15-18:

– Second weekend after NFL Draft where teams may again choose to hold their three-day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday-Sunday or Saturday-Monday.

May 18-20:

– NFL Spring League Meeting in San Francisco, CA.

JUNE

June 21-27:

– Rookie Symposium in Aurora, OH.

JULY

July 15:

– 4:00 PM EST — deadline for any team that designated a franchise player to sign such player to a multi-year contract extension.  After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior team for the 2015 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the team’s final regular season game.

– Training camp usually begins in late July, but the dates have not been released yet.

AUGUST

Aug. 7-9:

– Hall of Fame Weekend

Aug. 13-15:

– Preseason Week 1

Aug. 20-22:

– Preseason Week 2

Aug. 27-29:

– Preseason Week 3

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 3:

– Preseason Week 4

Sept. 10:

– NFL Kickoff

Sept. 13-14:

– NFL Opening Weekend

The NFL season never really ends, and the New Orleans Saints have a good bit of work to do to get back on track in 2015.  After finishing 7-9 and missing out on the playoffs, head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and the rest of the coaching staff and front offices should be quite busy this offseason.

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