ASHBURN, Va. -- Key offseason dates over the next two months for the NFL and how they apply to the Washington Redskins:
Jan. 30: Senior Bowl. The Redskins’ scouting staff will be in Mobile, Alabama for draft preparation.
Feb. 8: The day after the Super Bowl also is the first day teams can place players on waivers for 2016. That means it’s the first day Washington can release quarterback Robert Griffin III, or anyone else.
Feb. 16: First day teams can use the Franchise or Transition tag on players. The Redskins might have to end up using the Franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins, but there’s not much reason to apply it this early.
Feb. 23-29: The NFL Scouting Combine takes place in Indianapolis, Indiana. You will hear much talk about players the Redskins are talking to or eyeing. But with the team selecting 21st and the draft still two months after this date, it’s also time to remind you that there’s a lot of smoke when it comes to the draft. This weekend also is a productive one for agents meeting with prospective teams for clients entering free agency.
March 1: The deadline for applying the Franchise or Transition tag is 4 p.m. If there’s not much progress with Cousins, this will be an interesting day.
March 7-9: Teams can enter into negotiations with agents of clients who will be unrestricted free agents. No contract can be signed until 4 p.m. on March 9. The Redskins have 16 unrestricted free agents (they can sign their own at any time).
March 9: This could be a busy day. By 4 p.m., teams must exercise the 2016 option on players who had that in their 2015 contract. So Griffin must be released by this point or he'll count $16.2 million against the cap this season. Also, free agency begins at 4 p.m. with the start of the new league year (it’s also when the league starts using the Rule of 51 -- only the top 51 salaries count toward the salary cap during this period). All teams must be under the salary cap by the time free agency begins (the Redskins have approximately $146 million committed to the cap in 2016; the cap is projected to be between $150 million and $153.4 million). Also, teams can now start making trades.
April 18: Offseason workouts begin for teams with head coaches who are returning, such as the Redskins.
April 22: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign their offer sheets. The Redskins have two restricted free agents: safety Duke Ihenacho and offensive lineman Tom Compton, who also played tight end this past season.
April 28-30: The NFL Draft takes place in Chicago. The Redskins own the 21st pick in the first round. They have eight picks in this draft, including two in the seventh round.