Happy April! It’s officially draft month, but that’s not the only date to mark on your calendar if you want to keep up with the slow-moving NFL offseason.
Back on the Field
Today, Monday, is the day that teams with new head coaches are permitted to begin their offseason programs. These teams get a two-week head start on the Titans if they choose to do so, and the clubs who have chosen to start today are the Browns, the Buccaneers, and the Dolphins.
The NFL only allows for so many weeks of work-outs during this time, so teams that start their programs today will have to take a week off at some point before mid-June.
The Titans, along with the remaining 24 squads, will get back to work for Phase One of the offseason program on April 15th.
Phase One is a two-week period in which activities are limited to nothing more than strength/conditioning and rehab.
April 29th will kick off Phase Two, which lasts for three weeks. During this time, teams can run individual drills and team work as long as the team periods don’t involve any offense vs defense.
The remainder of the offseason program is classified as Phase Three, a four-week period in which teams can hold as many as 10 days of Organized Team Activities (OTAs), followed by a mandatory minicamp.
Everything leading up to the mandatory minicamp is technically voluntary, but most players are expected to show up and participate anyway.
We should be receiving exact workout dates sometime soon. Last year, they were announced on April 2nd.
2019 Schedule Drop
April always brings with it the schedule release for the upcoming season.
While there is no exact date for the release, it typically comes in mid-April around the time that offseason programs are starting up.
Last year, the 2018 schedule dropped on April 19th in the form of a two-hour NFL Network special hosted by Scott Hanson.
I expect a similar presentation this year, so look for this announcement to come sometime over the next few weeks.
2019 NFL Draft
Obviously, the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee, is right around the corner.
The festivities begin on Thursday, April 25th, including free admission for all to the NFL Draft Experience. Fans will be able to participate in interactive exhibits, immersive games, virtual reality experiences, free player autograph sessions and more held surrounding Nissan Stadium.
Cherry-blossom controversy aside, the draft should be tons of fun and great for the city of Nashville overall.
5th-Year Option Deadline
Shortly after the draft, teams have to announce their 5th-year option plans for 2016 first-round picks.
Jon Robinson and co. will have until May 3rd to decide whether or not to pick up Jack Conklin’s fifth year. At this point, I think we’ll have to wait until then to know what Robinson is planning.
After a long summer, teams will reconvene for training camp at the end of July.
Then, on August 1st, 2019, the NFL Hall of Fame game will kick off the 2019 preseason, and football will be officially back.
Only 122 days away!