In just a few short weeks, preparation for the 2007 NFL season will begin in earnest. Here are some of the important dates to keep our eyes on:
Wednesday February 21st-27th -- The Scouting Combine
Reading about 40-yard dash times and bench press reps can get old quickly, but for the Steelers scouting personnel, this is the week to make preliminary assesments on potential draft picks. Without hoards of money to dangle in front of free agents, the Steelers will have to try to get some help, especially defensively, and perhaps on the offensive line, through the draft.
Thursday February 22nd -- Deadline for Transition and Franchise tags
Don't expect us to slap the franchise or transition tags on any of our 2007 Free Agents . There's just not any one players that is that vital to our success on the list to merit doing so. We also don't have the type of money to go after Free Agents that might potentially be tagged, so this date is not that relevant to the Steelers.
Thursday March 1st -- Exclusive Rights and Restricted Free Agency deadlines. The Steelers have to tender minimum offers to our Exclusive Rights players by this date (Arnold Harrison, Ronald Stanley (who?), Greg Warren, and Nate Washington). The only player we'll be looking to get under contract by then might be Nate Washington. Some team might be impressed with Washington's big-play ability, forget about his lack of consistency, and offer him more than the Steelers are willing to pay him. We'll see.
Friday March 2nd -- Free Agency and Trading Season begin. Now the fun really starts.
Sunday March 25th-28th -- Owners meeting in Arizona to discuss possible rule changes. Fewer T.V. timeouts please?
Friday April 20th -- Restricted Free Agency over.
Friday April 27th -- Deadline for RFA's former team to match offer.
Saturday April 28th-29th -- The 2007 NFL Draft!