Let the countdown begin!
Although the Steelers off-season began months ago, the 2020 NFL season is now upon us. Unfortunately, this means we now have no meaningful football to look forward to for half a year. With various off-season events sprinkled over the next several months, we can officially count down the number of days to key off-season dates. As teams wait to see if the new CBA will govern the 2020 season, some early dates may be adjusted in order to better conduct business.
1 day: Hall of Fame Game Announced
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will be announcing the two teams playing in the Hall of Fame Game on Tuesday, March 10. It is widely believed the Steelers will be one team, but the opponent will also be confirmed at that time.
3 days: Final day to designate Franchise and Transition Tags
Unless the league decides to extend the date because of the impending vote on the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each franchise has until 4 PM on Thursday to designate the franchise and transition tags.
6 days: Results of NFLPA voting on the new CBA
With the NFLPA just announcing it is extending the voting period until Saturday at 11:59 PM EST, the results of whether or not the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is accepted by players will not be known until Sunday at the earliest.
7 days: Free Agent Negotiation
For the three days leading up to when free agency officially begins, teams may begin negotiating with players and agents for free-agent signings on March 16, 2020.
9 days: Beginning of the 2020 league year (start of Free Agency)
At 4 PM on March 18, 2020, teams may officially sign free-agent players to contracts for the upcoming season. This is also the deadline for teams to exercise options on players, submit restricted free agent and exclusive rights tenders, and for teams to be under the 2020 salary cap. Teams may also trade players once the 4 PM deadline has passed.
~38 days: NFL Schedule Release
It isn’t usually announced until just before it occurs, but the general release date for the NFL schedule is about a week before the draft.
39 days: Deadline for RFA’s to sign offer sheets
Any restricted free agent must sign any offer sheet from another team by Friday, April 17, 2020. After this date, RFA’s can only sign with the team which offered them a tender.
42 days: Off-season Workouts
April 20, 2020 is the first day teams with returning head coaches can begin their off-season workout program. Teams with returning head coaches may begin two weeks earlier.
45 days: NFL Draft
The 2020 NFL draft will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada beginning on April 23. The Steelers are scheduled to wait another day until their first draft selection, but a trade into the first round is not impossible.
128 days: Franchise Tag Signing
Any player who was designated with a franchise tag must have a signed contract by 4 PM on July 15, 2020. After this date, the player can only play under the tag for the season.
135 days: Transition Tag Signing
Any player who is designated with the transition tag must have a signed contract from another club by 4 PM on July 22, 2020. After this date, only the team who issued the tag has exclusive negotiating rights.
~135 days: Training Camp
Although with the Steelers will not officially announce the official start date of training camp until the preseason schedule is set, they generally report the middle of the final week of July. If the Steelers are playing the Hall of Fame Game, the fist day of training camp will be earlier and looks to be July 22, 2020 (135 days).
150 days: Hall of Fame Game
It appears this date will be insignificant to the Steelers for 2020 as they are projected to play a fifth preseason game. Even if it ends up not being the Steelers, the next time NFL players face off on the field will be in the Hall of Fame Game on August 6, 2020. The Hall of Fame activities will be over the course of the weekend from the game Thursday through Sunday, August 9, 2020.
157-160 days: First Week of Preseason Game
Even if the Steelers are playing in the Hall of Fame game, they will still play in the first full week of preseason games which will fall somewhere between Thursday, August 13 and Sunday, August 16, 2020.
178 days: Last Preseason Game
If the NFL follows their typical schedule, the final preseason games for all teams will be on Thursday, September 3, 2020.
180 days: 53-man Rosters
By 4 PM on Saturday, September 5, 2020, teams will have to make their final cuts in order to determine the 53-man roster.
185 days: NFL Kickoff Game
Thursday, September 10, 2020 will be the first game of the NFL season. Barring a horrendous scheduling conflict much like that in 2013, the game will be played in Kansas City. Since the Steelers do not play the Chiefs in 2020, they should kick off three or four days later on either Sunday, September 13 or Monday September 14.
335 days: Super Bowl LV
Super Bowl LV is scheduled to be played on February 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. Get your reservations booked now Steelers’ fans!