Important dates to remember for the 2016 NFL offseason

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Sep 3, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; a New Orleans Saints helmet during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; a New Orleans Saints helmet during warmups prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 38-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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As the 2015 season rapidly comes to a close with the Super Bowl less than two weeks away, the majority of the football world is looking forward to the 2016 NFL offseason.

The New Orleans Saints and their fans are looking to rid themselves of a disappointing 7-9 year, and have plenty of work to do to be taken seriously and become contenders next season. Here’s how the calendar looks for the offseason leading up to the NFL Draft.

January 30: Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

January 31: Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. Deadline for NFL teams to work out and negotiate with any CFL players whose 2015 contracts are due to expire on February 9.

February 8: Waiver system starts for 2016 season.

February 9: Beginning at 12 noon (EST), NFL teams allowed to sign players whose CFL contracts have expired for 2015.

February 13: NFL Regional Combine at Houston Texans Methodist Training Facility in Houston, Texas.

February 16: First day for clubs to designate any franchise or transition players.

February 20: NFL Regional Combine at Arizona Cardinals Training Facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

February 23-29: NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

February 27: NFL Regional Combine at Baltimore Ravens Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Maryland.

March 1: Deadline for clubs to designate any franchise or transition players prior to 4:00 PM (EST).

March 5: NFL Regional Combine at Minnesota Vikings Training Facility Max Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

March 7-9: Teams are are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2015 Player Contracts at 4:00 PM (EST) on March 9. However, no contracts can be executed until that time.

March 9: Prior to 4:00 PM (EST) clubs must exercise options for 2016 on all players who have option clauses in their 2015 contracts. 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. Teams must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2015 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

March 9: Top-51 Begins for salary cap. All clubs must be under the 2016 salary cap prior to 4:00 PM (EST). At this point, 2015 player contracts expire and the 2016 league year, trading period, and free agency period begins.

March 12: NFL Regional Combine at New Orleans Saints Training Facility in Metairie, Louisiana.

March 20-23: Annual Meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.

April 4: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2015 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.

April 18: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 22: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.

April 28-30: 2016 NFL Draft at Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.

April 30: After the final selection in the draft has been made, teams may begin signing Undrafted Free Agents who were eligible for the 2016 Draft.

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