NFL offseason schedule and Bengals to-do list

Here are four words no football fan wants to hear (or read): “Welcome to the offseason.” 

On the one hand, it’s nice for every every team that didn’t win the Super Bowl to get a chance to hit the rest button. 

Then again… there won’t be another NFL game for about six months. 

RELATED: Takeaways from the Super Bowl (and lessons for the Bengals)

To navigate that period of time, here’s a rundown of the key points on the league calendar with some notes about how the Bengals can use them to beat the early odds and become competitors again. 

Feb. 20

Teams can designate “franchise” and “transition” players. 

The best of the Bengals’ free-agents-to-be is probably punter Kevin Huber. He could get tagged or sign a long-term contract. 

None of the Bengals’ other pending unrestricted free agents look like high-priority players, though some could have some value if retained — especially at the right price. That group includes Tyler Eifert, Andre Smith, Chris Smith and maybe Russell Bodine. 

Feb. 27-March 5

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. 

This is a chance for all of the teams in the league to get a closer look at some of the best prospects coming out of college. 

The Bengals will no doubt be looking for linemen, preferably a couple who can help sooner than later on the offense. They could also use a play-making safety, another linebacker and probably a pass-catching tight end. Plus, can any team ever have enough pass rushers? (Nope)

Feb. 6 

Deadline to tag players (see above). 

Feb. 15

Arbitrator rules on A.J. McCarron’s status

The backup quarterback is set to be a restricted free agent, but he could be declared an unrestricted free agent if an arbitrator declares he accrued enough service time during his first year out of college. 

March 12-14 

Teams can negotiate with free agents but not sign them yet. 

Marvin Lewis said in his first press conference after it was announced he will be back as head coach the team could try to figure out where the draft class is lacking and be more aggressive in finding free agents who can fill needs. (That was something they failed to do in regards to the offensive line last year.) 

Among the free agents who could fit needs for the Bengals are offensive linemen Andrew Norwell, a Cincinnati native who played at Ohio State, and Nate Solder. 

There’s also an intriguing group of defensive backs including Lamarcus Joyner, Morgan Burnett, Kenny Vaccaro and Eric Reid. 

Perhaps Ezekiel Ansah, a pass rusher who is familiar with new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin? 

March 14

League year begins, meaning trades are allowed and free agents can sign. 

April 14

Teams that did not hire new head coaches may begin offseason workouts. 

April 20 

Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets. 

April 25 

Deadline for teams to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents. 

April 26 

NFL draft in Arlington, Texas 

The Bengals have the 12th pick in the first round. They should have a great opportunity to pick a talented offensive lineman or a playmaker on defense, and the glut of quarterbacks potentially going in the top 10 might help them get just the guy they want. 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

2018 NBA Draft Combine: Winners, losers from Big 12
2018 NBA Draft Combine: Winners, losers from Big 12

Eleven Big 12 standouts took part in the 2018 NBA Combine, which ended Sunday, and several of them took center stage. The combine brought together a pair of Big 12 first team All-Americans, along with several early entry prospects. A couple of them, including West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate, are weighing their options about returning...
LSU officially adds former Ohio State QB Joe Burrow to roster
LSU officially adds former Ohio State QB Joe Burrow to roster

LSU football officially added former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow to its 2018 roster on Monday. The Tigers welcomed Burrow to the team on Twitter. Check out the tweet below: After Burrow announced that he was leaving Ohio State as a graduate transfer on May 8, reports linked Burrow to LSU on Friday. Burrow...
Former Oklahoma DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo undergoes foot surgery
Former Oklahoma DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo undergoes foot surgery

Former Oklahoma defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo has undergone foot surgery, per The Orange County Register’s Rich Hammond. Okonrokwo, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, was absent from a team OTA practice on Monday and will return at some point during the team’s summer...
247sports: ‘Nobody recruits like Oregon’
247sports: ‘Nobody recruits like Oregon’

While it’s still early in the 2019 recruiting process, the Oregon Ducks are already making noise. 247sports ranks the Ducks’ 13th nationally and tops in the Pac-12 in the 2019 class rankings, and Oregon just landed two commitments from high-profile 4-stars on Sunday night. John Canzano, a columnist for the Oregonian, hosted...
Chuma Edoga among the Pac-12’s best offensive tackles
Chuma Edoga among the Pac-12’s best offensive tackles

USC Trojans offensive tackle Chuma Edoga will have an important task this fall — protecting whoever replaces Sam Darnold under center. As Pro Football Focus highlights, Edoga is already equipped to give USC’s heir to Darnold’s throne plenty of protection. The six pressures allowed by Edgoa in 2017 are the lowest...
More Stories