Let the countdown begin!
Although the Steelers offseason began weeks ago, the 2022 NFL season has now officially concluded as on Sunday night. 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.
5 days: Franchise/Transition Tag
Beginning on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, teams are able to designate a player with the franchise or transition tag. Teams have two weeks (until 4 PM on March 7, 2023) until the deadline for designation.
12 days: NFL Scouting Combine
The NFL Scouting Combine will once again be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and will be held from February 28 through March 6, 2023.
19 days: Pro Days & Facility Visits Begin
March 7, 2023, is the first and Pro Days for players eligible for the 2023 NFL draft. Additionally, Each NFL can host up to 30 non-local players to visit their facility through April 19. Teams can perform physical examinations but no on-field workouts are permitted. Teams can also hold video or telephone interviews until April 26.
25 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 13, 2023.
27 days: Beginning of the 2022 league year (start of Free Agency)
At 4 PM on March 15, 2023, 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 2023 salary cap. Teams may also trade players once the 4 PM deadline has passed.
60 days: Offseason Workouts
April 17, 2023 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.
64 days: Deadline for RFA’s to sign offer sheets
Any restricted free agent must sign any offer sheet from another team by Friday, April 21, 2023. After this date, RFA’s can only sign with the team which offered them a tender.
73 days: NFL Draft
The 2023 NFL draft will be held in Kansas City, Missouri, beginning on Thursday, April 27 and continuing through Saturday, April 29. The Steelers are scheduled to have a first-round pick this year unless any kind of trade were to change the situation. The Steelers currently have two selections in the second round, including the first pick of the round (32).
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:
~84 days: NFL Schedule Release
The last two years the schedule came out after the NFL Draft. If the release is like 2022, it will come 14 days after the first night of the NFL draft, which would be Thursday, May 11, 2023.
~85 days: Rookie Minicamp and OTAs
Based on the 2022 offseason schedule, Steelers rookie minicamp began the second Friday of May. If they keep the same schedule, the first day would be Friday, May 12, 2023 and go through Sunday, May 14. 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 23, 2023. These exact dates will be announced by the Steelers as early as April.
149 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. Since this date is a Saturday, it may be adjusted. After this date, the player can only play under the tag for the season.
156 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. Once again, this date could be adjusted based on the fact it is a Saturday.
~160 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, 2023.
168 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 3, 2023. The Hall of Fame activities will be over the course of the weekend from the game Thursday through Sunday with the 2023 enshrinement likely scheduled for Saturday.
175-178 days: First Week of Preseason Game
If the NFL follows the same format they established in 2021 and 2022, which have been the years with only three preseason games, they would still be scheduled to play in the first full week of preseason games somewhere between Thursday, August 10 and Sunday, August 13, 2022.
189-192 days: Last Preseason Game
If the NFL follows their schedule from the last two seasons, the final preseason games for all teams will be between Thursday, August 24 and Sunday, August 27. If the NFL decides to change things up and not have two weeks in between the final preseason games and the start of the 2023 regular season, these games could be pushed back another week. But after two season, I don’t think that is a change they really want to make.
194 days: 53-man Rosters
The last two seasons where the NFL had a 17-game schedule, the final roster cut down date was the Tuesday following the final preseason games. If they stick to the same schedule this year, the date would be Tuesday, August 29, 2023.
203 days: NFL Kickoff Game
Thursday, September 7, 2023 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 Kansas City. Since the Steelers do not play the Chiefs in 2023, they should kick off three or four days later on either Sunday, September 10 or Monday, September 11. Maybe this year they will actually start with a home game.
360 days: Super Bowl LVIII
Super Bowl LVIII is scheduled to be played on February 11, 2024 at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada.