Feb 26, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack defensive back Earl Wolff makes a diving catch during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Making a roster: Important dates in the NFL offseason

Just because the Super Bowl is over doesn’t mean that the NFL goes into hibernation until the 2014 Hall of Fame game. The offseason is all about creating a roster that is capable of making it to the big game. Listed below are a number of important dates before the preseason begins on Aug. 3. All times listed below are eastern standard time.

February 17: The first day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition tag players.

February 19-25 : NFL Scouting Combine takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

March 3: 4 p.m. is the deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition tag players.

March 8: Teams are permitted to enter into contract negotiations with players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2013 Player Contracts at 4 p.m., on March 11. A contract cannot be executed until March 11.

March 11: Prior to 4 p.m., clubs must exercise options for 2014 on all players who have option clauses in their 2013 contracts.

March 11: Prior to 4 p.m., clubs must submit Qualifying Offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts.

March 11: Prior to 4 p.m., clubs must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2013 contracts and who have fewer than three Accrued Seasons of free agency credit.

March 11: All clubs must be under the 2014 Salary Cap before 4 p.m.

March 11: All 2013 player contracts expire at 4 p.m.

March 11: The 2014 League Year and Free Agency period begins at 4 p.m.

March 11: Trading period for 2014 begins at 4 p.m.

April 7: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2013 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.

April 21: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

May 2: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.

May 7: Deadline for teams to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.

May 8-10: 2014 NFL Draft

June 16: Deadline for club to withdraw Qualifying Offer to Restricted Free Agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting a  “June 15 Tender” of a one-year contract at 110 percent of the player’s prior-year salary

July 15: 4 p.m. is the deadline for any team that designated a Franchise Player to sign him to a multi-year contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with the team.

Mid-July: Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for Rookies and First-Year Players beginning seven days prior to the club’s reporting date for veteran players. Veteran players other than quarterbacks or injured players can report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the team’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.

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