Although we won't see any actual football for a while, the NFL never stops. There are key dates throughout the calender that we need to consider, including events like the combine, free agency, the draft and some contract dates for Jets players.
Here are the days to pop in your diary:
The national combine is the big event, but there are plenty of talented football players who didn't receive an invitation. So they will take part in regional combines, showcasing their skills for team scouts:
February 7: South Regional Combine, Davie, Florida
February 14: Southwest Regional Combine, Houston, Texas
February 21: West Coast Regional Combine, Dove Valley, Colorado
February 28: East Coast Regional Combine, Owings Mills, Maryland
March 7: Midwest Regional Combine, Lake Forest, Illinois
March 21-22: Super Regional Combine, Phoenix, Arizona (last chance combine, invite only)
Chris Johnson's Contract: February 16th
On the 16th of February the Jets are scheduled to pay a $500,000 option bonus to Chris Johnson, if they pay that, it stands to reason they'll also pay his base salary of $3.5 million and he'll be a Jet in 2015. I fully expect the Jets to cut Johnson before the 16th of February saving some money, replacing him with a younger back with more potential.
NFL Combine - February 17-23
This is the big one, where the elite college players in the country will come together in Indianapolis to work-out, run drills, get measured and interviewed by scouts, coaches and general managers.
Franchise/Transition Tag Deadline - March 2nd
From February 16th through to March 2nd, teams will have the opportunity to franchise their best players if they are unable to work out a long term deal. We don't really have any player that warrants the franchise tag, however we'll be keeping an eye on others as it will almost certainly affect our free agency strategy. Dez Bryant will almost certainly be tagged if no contract can be worked out and a number of other free agents will also receive the tag. One interesting tag I'll be watching, New England and Devin McCourty, it's not unbelievable to expect them to place the tag on him.
Negotiation With Unrestricted Free Agents - March 7th-10th
The NFL give teams a head-start with their own unrestricted free agents as well as the option to talk to the agents of other UFA's. Teams can talk to agents to try and get a deal hashed out before players can visit other teams starting on the 10th of March. For us, this means we get a chance to sign David Harris before Rex Ryan and Buffalo have a shot. We can also talk to other UFA's but no visits can be scheduled and no contracts can be signed.
Free Agency - March 10th
March 10: Prior to 4 PM EST, Teams must exercise their 2015 options, as well as provide offers to Restriced Free Agents (RFAs) and Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs); All franchises must be under the 2015 Salary Cap at this point
March 10: After 4 PM EST, the 2015 League Year begins and free agents and start to sign contracts
April 24: RFAs offer and signing deadline
April 29: Teams must decide whether or not they'll match offers for RFAs
Muhammad WIlkerson Contract Guaranteed - March 10th
The salary for the 2015 option year in Wilkerson's contract becomes fully guaranteed ($6.969 million)
Percy Harvin Contract Option - March 19th
This is a big one. Do the Jets want to pay $10.5 million and give Seattle a 4th round draft pick for Percy Harvin? It's very unlikely they will. Which means he'll be cut before this date and the Jets will be forced to give the Seahawks a 6th round selection. The Jets can obviously explore free agent options before deciding what to do with Percy. His contract is not guaranteed after the 19th, so the Jets could cut him in April, however even if cut at a later date, they'd still owe the Seattle Seahawks a 4th round selection.
NFL League Meeting - March 22-25
Coaches, owners get together, talk about football, rules and what needs changing.
Jets Offseason Workouts - April 6th
With a new coaching staff in place, the Jets get a little head-start on the competition in regards to their off-season program. All teams with new coaches can get together 2 weeks before teams with returning coaches. We'll be focusing on how our injured players are looking, will Dexter McDougle be ready, will Shaq Evans be good to go etc etc.
The NFL Draft - April 30th-May 2nd
We all know what this is about!