Let the countdown begin!
The Pittsburgh Steelers are back for the first step of the 2023 NFL season with the start of Phase I of offseason workouts. With even more offseason events sprinkled over the next several months, we can officially count down the number of days to key offseason dates.
0 days: Offseason Workouts (Phase I)
Today, 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 were able to start two weeks ago. Phase I consists only of meetings, strength and conditioning, and physical rehabilitation and last for two weeks.
4 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.
10 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).
14 days: Offseason Workouts (Phase II)
Two weeks after the start of Phase I is the first day teams can begin their Phase II offseason workout program. Phase II last for three weeks and consists of the following from Steelers.com:
On-field workouts may include individual or group instruction and drills, as well as “perfect play drills,” and drills and plays with offensive players lining up across from offensive players and defensive players lining up across from defensive players, conducted at a walk-through pace. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
~24 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.
~25 days: Rookie Minicamp
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.
36 days: OTAs (Phase III)
OTAs are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. There is no live contact allowed, but teams can do 11-on-11 drills. The 10 days have already been announced by the Steelers and are as follows:
Tuesday, May 23 – OTA #1
Wednesday, May 24 – OTA #2
Thursday, May 25 – OTA #3
Tuesday, May 30 – OTA #4
Wednesday, May 31 – OTA #5
Thursday, June 1 – OTA #6
Monday, June 5 – OTA #7
Tuesday, June 6 – OTA #8
Wednesday, June 7 – OTA #9
Thursday, June 8 – OTA #10
57 days: Mandatory Minicamp (Phase III)
Mandatory Minicamp is set to begin on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Much like OTAs, there is no live contact allowed, but teams can do 11-on-11 drills. It should be noted that the Steelers cancelled the Mandatory Minicamp portion of Phase III because they had so much participation in OTAs they claimed to have got in all the work. The 3 days of Mandatory Minicamp have already been announced by the Steelers and are as follows:
Tuesday, June 13– Day 1
Wednesday, June 14 – Day 2
Thursday, June 15 – Day 3
91 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 17. Since the usual date of July 15 is a Saturday, the date was pushed back to the next Monday. After this date, the player can only play under the tag for the season.
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:
~98 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, one week after the franchise tag deadline. Once again being a Saturday, the date is likely to be pushed back to Monday, July 24, 2023. After this date, only the team who issued the tag has exclusive negotiating rights.
~100 days: Training Camp
Although 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 not playing 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.
108 days: Hall of Fame Game
This date won’t be as significant to the Steelers for 2022 as they are not playing in the Hall of Fame Game, which kicks 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 scheduled for Saturday.
115-118 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, 2023.
129-132 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.
134 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.
143 days: NFL Kickoff Game
Thursday, September 7, 2023 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 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.
300 days: Super Bowl LVIII
Super Bowl LVIII is scheduled to be played on February 11, 2024 at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada.