With the Super Bowl behind us, the offseason's well and truly begun. Joel Corry went into some of the most important dates this offseason for CBS Sports, and I picked out a few that are particularly relevant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
$10.85 million of Drew Brees' $19.75 million becomes guaranteed, as well as Jairus Byrd's $7.4 million salary and Dannell Ellerbe's $4.1 million salary. Those are massive cap hits for the New Orleans Saints -- and that could prompt them to release Byrd, who might actually be a decent fit for the Bucs to add depth at free safety, and Ellerbe.
Teams can start using the franchise tag to retain players. This will likely take most of the top free agents off the market, including Alshon Jeffery, Von Miller, Josh Norman and Muhammad Wilkerson. The Bucs might use the tag on Doug Martin, but are more likely to re-sign him to a long-term contract.
The NFL scouting combine. The most public aspect is athletic testing, but the most relevant parts are the interviews, medical tests and contract meetings between teams and agents.
Franchise tag deadline.
Chiefs edge rusher Tamba Hali becomes a free agent, unless the Chiefs sign him to an extension. Browns center Alex Mack can also void the final three years of his contract allowing him to hit free agency, and possibly join his old offensive line coach in Tampa.
Negotiating period for free agents until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 9. No contracts can be signed, but agreements can be reached with agents.
Start of the new league year at 4:00 p.m. ET, which also comes with the official start of free agency as well as the opening of the trading window.
A lot of contracts feature the guaranteeing of salaries on these dates, forcing teams to decide on their players at the start of free agency. Some samples: Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron's 2016 salary, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy's 2017 salary, Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib's 2016 salary, Jets receiver Brandon Marshall's 2016 salary, Dolphins center Mike Pouncey's 2016 salary, Bucs linebacker Lavonte David's 2016 salary.
2016 NFL Draft!