The NFL offseason is here for the 30 teams that did not make it to the Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks are unfortunately among that group after losing in the Wild Card round. The offseason is when teams take shape for next year. There is free agency, the draft and teams cut their losses this time too. Teams have to make salary cap decisions hand in hand with the goal of winning now. The preseason won’t start until August, so what do we have to look forward to until then? Here are some of the important offseason dates for the Seahawks.
January 27— Pro Bowl
This is everyone’s last chance to watch some of your favorite players this year. The Pro Bowl showcases little effort most of the time, but it is a lot of fun. The Seahawks that made it this year are Russell Wilson, Michael Dickson and Bobby Wagner. Wilson always shines in the Pro Bowl and this year should be no different. Check out the game this Sunday and you will see the NFL’s best having a great time.
February 19—Franchise and Transition Tags
I only point this date out because there is so much uncertainty about Frank Clark’s contract. He is scheduled to be a free agent and it doesn’t seem like Seattle has reached out about an extension yet. He will command a huge amount of attention if he is a free agent. He would be the second-best pass rusher on the market and could make a ton of money by signing anywhere else. But the Seahawks could put a franchise tag on him and pay him around $17 million next year. March 5 is the last day to designate a franchise player so look for Clark news around this time.
February 26—Scouting Combine
Otherwise known as the “Underwear Olympics,” the NFL will invite more than 300 of the best college football players it can find to test their physical and mental aptitude. This was where Shaquem Griffin became a household name last year with his great testing numbers. Front offices use this as an opportunity to figure out if what they’ve seen on tape translates to a real-life NFL setting. Players can help or hurt their draft stock with their performance. It can be boring to watch if you are not obsessed with football, but you can learn a lot about the players participating. The Seahawks always look for specific traits that fit into their team, as well as who fits with their philosophy.
March 11—Contact with Unrestricted Free Agents
This is the day teams can start to talk with players who will become unrestricted free agents. They can’t sign anything until the 13th, though—this is just a negotiating period. Teams can lay a groundwork for when free agency begins and can start to get a picture of what they need to target. This is where you will start to see Seattle’s name start to get connected with potential free agents. They usually are not making splashy acquisitions, so these free agents will probably be ones that not many other people target.
The difference between restricted and unrestricted free agents is that if you are a restricted free agent and you get a contract offer from another team, the team you played for last year has a chance to match that contract to sign you back.
March 13—Restricted Free Agency ends
This is the last day you can match a restricted free agent’s offer. So, the Seahawks will have to make decisions on players like Akeem King, George Fant, Joey Hunt and JD McKissic. Those are the ones I hope they keep at least.
March 13—Free Agency Starts
Free agency actually starts here. This is one of the best free-agent classes in recent memory. There are premiere pass rushers and potential Hall of Famers on the market. Earl Thomas and Frank Clark are among the best of the bunch and Seattle fans will no doubt be eager to see where they end up. Teams start to fill in their holes and needs here with an eye on the NFL Draft next month.
March 24—League Meeting
This is the first of two offseason league meetings the NFL has, the other one is in May. They will discuss rule changes, officiating and the standard of play. There will be a lot said about pass interference, but don’t expect much to change. The NFL’s viewership is up so they probably won’t change.
April 16—Voluntary Workouts
These don’t mean a whole lot, so missing them is not a big deal, but it is the first chance for the team to officially get together and work out together. You get to see your team after the break and possibly any new guys who have been signed.
April 25—NFL Draft
This is probably the jewel of the NFL’s offseason; it is a cash cow and generates so much positive publicity. It is an exciting part for fans and teams too. Waiting to see who your team picks and why they did it. The anticipation is definitely part of the fun and guessing who the Seahawks will pick is always a fun way to be wrong about something.
June 12—Mandatory Minicamp
We have finally made it to mandatory camp. We get a better look at what the team will look like. Rookies will be in camp with veterans and new coaches will be getting more time with their players. There will be so many feel-good stories during camp, especially around Seattle where undrafted players have a good chance of making the team.
September 5—First Seahawks Game
The preseason is over, and we know who is starting and have a good idea of the playmakers for the 2019 squad. It is a little over eight months away from now, so let’s sit back and enjoy the offseason.
For a more complete list off all the offseason dates check it out here.