The NFL offseason these days is almost as interesting as the season itself, which is in part a credit to the league for figuring out how to keep itself in the news all year long.
And with that in mind, and with the offseason now in full swing for all but four teams, it’s time to look at some key dates, and especially as they affect the Seahawks.
Feb. 4 — Senior Bowl
As important as the game, held in Mobile, Alabama, are the week of practices and opportunities for teams to interview players. And never in recent years have the Seahawks gone there with as much draft ammo as they do this season with picks 5 and 20 in the first round and five in the first 84, making it even more fun and interesting for Seahawks fans to follow along.
Feb. 17 — A big day for a few Seahawks contractually
According to Spotrac.com, this is the day when three Seahawks have clauses in their contracts that come due. And specifically, by having parts or all of salaries or bonuses becoming guaranteed, on what is the fifth day of the waiver period. Those include $2.56 million of Jamal Adams’ $11 million base salary becoming guaranteed; Quandre Diggs’ $13.49 million base salary for 2023 becoming fully guaranteed; and DK Metcalf’s $2.2 million salary and $12 million option bonus becoming fully guaranteed. For Adams and Diggs, it is the last guaranteed money they have in their contracts.
Feb. 21 — Franchise/transition tag period opens
On this day, through March 7, teams can use the franchise or transition tags on a player. And that’s an important time period to watch for the Seahawks this year as there has been lots of speculation the team could consider using a tag on QB Geno Smith. Certainly, this is a period when news/rumors of where things might be headed with Smith will likely begin to percolate, if nothing has happened by then.
Feb. 28-March 6 — NFL scouting combine
What is maybe the highlight of draft season, the week of player interviews and testing and 40-yard dash times will again be held in Indianapolis. This time, the Seahawks go there knowing they are holding a top 10 pick for the first time since 2010 — well, with the public knowing, anyway, as the Russell Wilson trade was mostly finalized at the combine but not announced until a week later. But for the first time in a long time, Seahawks fans can watch it knowing just about every player taking part is on the table as a potential pick.
March 7 — Pro days and official visits begin
The minute the combine ends, coaches, scouts and personnel execs can begin fanning out across the country to attend various pro days, where prospects can be further examined, interviewed and evaluated. Also, on this day, and through April 19, teams can begin hosting potential draftees to their facilities for official visits. Teams can host up to 30 players.
March 13 — Negotiating period begins
At 9 a.m. PT, teams can begin officially talking to agents of players who will become free agents two days later, officially kicking off a few weeks of what the league has unofficially termed “free agency frenzy.” And hey, guess if the title fits. Other than Smith, most of Seattle’s 24 potential unrestricted free agents might not be players who will go in the so-called “first wave.” One other who could, though, is DT Poona Ford.
March 15 — The new league year begins
On this day at 1 p.m. is when free agents can officially begin signing with new teams. Also on this day is the deadline for teams to submit tenders or qualifying offers to restricted and exclusive rights free agents. The big name for Seattle to watch there is safety Ryan Neal, who is a restricted free agent.
March 19 — Two more Seahawks can cash in
There are two more Seahawks contract clauses to watch on this day as tight end Will Dissly’s $5.46 million base salary for 2023 becomes fully guarantee, though it’s already guaranteed for injury and Dissly ended the season on injured reserve with a knee injury; and defensive linemen Shelby Harris has a $2 million roster bonus due.
March 26-29 — League meetings are held in Phoenix
The annual meeting also usually serves as a time when coaches and GMs give what are essentially “state of the team” news conferences following the first few waves of free agency and heading into the draft.
April 17 — Teams with returning head coaches can begin the offseason programs
So, this would be the first day the 2023 Seahawks can officially gather.
April 27-29 — NFL draft
It’s held in Kansas City this year, and Seattle could be taking one or two (or who knows, really?) players in the green room this time around.
May 1 — Deadline for teams to pick up fifth-year options on players taken in first round of 2020 draft
For Seattle, this means the deadline to pick up the option on linebacker Jordyn Brooks, the No. 27 overall pick in 2020. If Seattle does, then Brooks would get a fully guaranteed contract estimated at $11.58 million in 2024. If not, Brooks can play out the final season of his contract in 2023, when he is due to make $2.278 million, and become a free agent. Complicating matters is Brooks’ ACL injury, for which he had surgery Jan. 19. Seattle has not picked up the option on any of its five first-round picks since the option was enacted in 2011. But in the case of Rashaad Penny, the Seahawks didn’t pick up the option, and Penny played out his contract and re-signed with the Seahawks the following year.
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