New England Patriots

Now that the football season has finally come to an end, it’s time to look ahead to the important dates of the upcoming 2018 NFL Season.

Check out the important dates the New England Patriots and the rest of NFL will be focusing on during the offseason below.


April 16: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 20: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 26: Dont’a Hightower of Alabama holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected #25 overall by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

April 26-28: 2018 NFL Draft, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

May 4-7 or May 11-14: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 8: Deadline for prior club to send “May 8 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a player contract with a club by July 23 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later, he may negotiate or sign a player contract from that date until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, at 4:00 p.m. ET, only with his prior club.

*July 23*: Signing period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 8 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m. EST, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.

*or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.

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June 1: Deadline for prior club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Restricted Free Agents who received a qualifying offer for a right of first refusal only in order for such player to be subject to the CBA’s “June 15 Tender” provision.

July 16: There’s a 4:00 p.m. EST, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2018 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.

FOXBOROUGH, MA – JUNE 4: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a ball during organized team activities at Gillette Stadium on June 4, 2015 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)


  • Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for Veteran players.
  • Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or “injured players” (as defined in CBA Article 21, Section 6) may report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.
  • Veteran quarterbacks and injured players may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first-year players.
  • A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a club’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who rejoin the roster after that date may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.

CANTON, OH – AUGUST 2: Andre Tippett, John Hannah (center) and owner Robert Kraft (right) of the New England Patriots pose with Tippett’s bust after his induction during the Class of 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Fawcett Stadium on August 2, 2008 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

August 2: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio.

August 2-5: Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio.

August 7

  • Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an accrued season for free agency.
  • If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2018, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2019 League Year.

September 2

  • Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 p.m. EST.
  • Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m. ET, clubs may establish a practice squad of 10 players. No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a practice player contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player’s prior NFL player contract has been terminated via the waiver system.

September 6: At 12:00 a.m. EST, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL clubs.

September 6, 9-10: NFL Regular Season opens.

We’re in for a long off-season here in New England after coming off a tough Super Bowl loss, but the 2018 season will kickoff sooner than we think.

The Patriots are already onto 2018, so we might as well be too.

—  By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman,

John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at