Let the countdown begin!
Although the Steelers offseason began weeks ago, the 2021 NFL season has now officially concluded. Unfortunately, this means we now have no meaningful football to look forward to for more than half a year. With various offseason events sprinkled over the next several months, we can officially count down the number of days to key offseason dates.
0 days: Waivers
Today is the first day of the implementation of the waiver system for 2022. Players can now be waived in order to enter free agency for next season, and players claimed off of waivers since the end of the regular season are now part of their new teams.
8 days: Franchise/Transition Tag
Beginning on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, teams are able to designate a player with the franchise or transition tag. Teams have two weeks (until 4 PM on March 8, 2022) until the deadline for designation.
15 days: NFL Scouting Combine
The NFL Scouting Combine returns to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and will be held from March 1-7, 2022.
28 days: Free Agent Negotiation
For the 52 hours leading up to when free agency officially begins, teams may begin negotiating with players and agents for free-agent signings at noon on March 14, 2022.
30 days: Beginning of the 2022 league year (start of Free Agency)
At 4 PM on March 16, 2022, 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 2022 salary cap. Teams may also trade players once the 4 PM deadline has passed.
63 days: Offseason Workouts
April 18, 2022 is the first day teams with returning head coaches, like the Steelers, can begin their offseason workout program. Teams with new head coaches may begin two weeks earlier.
67 days: Deadline for RFA’s to sign offer sheets
Any restricted free agent must sign any offer sheet from another team by Friday, April 22, 2022. After this date, RFA’s can only sign with the team which offered them a tender.
73 days: NFL Draft
The 2022 NFL draft will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada beginning on Thursday, April 28 and continuing through Saturday, April 30. The Steelers are scheduled to have a first-round pick this year unless any kind of trade were to change the situation.
At this time, these are the only dates agreed upon for the NFL calendar by the NFL and the NFLPA. If the two sides agree on a schedule similar to past seasons, the estimations will be as follows:
~86 days: NFL Schedule Release
Last year the schedule came out once again after the NFL Draft. If the release is like 2021, it will come 13 days after the first night of the NFL draft, which would be Wednesday, May 11, 2022.
~88 days: Rookie Minicamp and OTAs
Based on the 2021 offseason schedule, Steelers rookie minicamp began the second Friday of May. If they keep the same schedule, the first day would be Friday, May 13, 2022. If this is the date, OTAs began nine days later on the fourth Tuesday of May, which would put that starting date as Tuesday, May 24, 2022. These exact dates will be announced by the Steelers in early May following the NFL draft.
151 days: Franchise Tag Signing
In past seasons, any player who was designated with a franchise tag must have a signed contract by 4 PM on July 15. After this date, the player can only play under the tag for the season.
158 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 in past seasons. After this date, only the team who issued the tag has exclusive negotiating rights.
~162 days: Training Camp
Although with the Steelers will not officially announce the start date of training camp until the preseason schedule is set, they generally report the middle of the final week of July. With the Steelers unlikely to play in the Hall of Fame Game, the fist day of training camp will not be earlier than the rest of the NFL and looks to be about July 26, 2022.
171 days: Hall of Fame Game
This date won’t be as significant to the Steelers for 2022 as they are not likely to be scheduled to play in the Hall of Fame Game, which should kick off the weekend on Thursday August 4, 2022. The Hall of Fame activities will be over the course of the weekend from the game Thursday through Sunday with the 2022 enshrinement likely scheduled for Saturday.
178-181 days: First Week of Preseason Game
If the NFL follows the same format they established in 2021, which was the first year with only three preseason games, they would still be scheduled to play in the first full week of preseason games somewhere between Thursday, August 11 and Sunday, August 14, 2022.
193-195 days: Last Preseason Game
If the NFL follows their schedule from last season, the final preseason games for all teams will be between Friday, August 26 and Sunday, August 28. If the NFL decides to change things up and not have two week in between the final preseason games and the start of the 2022 regular season, these games could be pushed back another week.
197 days: 53-man Rosters
Last season, the NFL mixed things up by having the final roster cut down date be the Tuesday following the final preseason games. If they stick to the same schedule this year, the date would be Tuesday, August 30, 2022.
206 days: NFL Kickoff Game
Thursday, September 8, 2022 will be the first game of the NFL season if things proceed as normal. Barring a horrendous scheduling conflict much like that in 2013, the game will be played in Los Angeles. Since the Steelers do not play the Rams in 2022, they should kick off three or four days later on either Sunday, September 11 or Monday, September 12. Mybe this year they will actually start with a home game.
363 days: Super Bowl LVII
Super Bowl LVII is scheduled to be played on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.