With the Super Bowl LV in the rearview mirror, the offseason officially begins for all 32 teams. The first event on the normal offseason calendar is the NFL Scouting Combine, which even took place as scheduled in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. This year, the Combine has already been cancelled and other offseason events could still continue to be adjusted accordingly.
In the meantime, here are the offseason dates we know so far*:
(*Dates subject to change)
February 23-March 9: Franchise/transition tag window
The Texans can use the franchise tag on a player if they choose during this window. Houston has 14 players that will be unrestricted free agents, including wide receiver Will Fuller V, and six players set to be restricted free agents.
March 15-17: Legal tampering period for free agency
Teams will have a three-day period to negotiate with the agents of players set to become unrestricted free agents at the start of the new league year. Contract terms can be negotiated but not signed until free agency officially begins. Direct communication with players is not permitted.
March 17 at 3 p.m. CT: New league year, free agency begins
Happy New Year! At 3 p.m. CT (4 p.m ET), players with expiring contracts will officially enter free agency and can sign with any team. Trades that have been negotiated (like the Matthew Stafford/Jared Goff deal) will also become official. At the start of the new league year, all 32 teams must also be below the salary cap.
April 5: Offseason workouts can begin for teams with new head coaches
The seven NFL teams with new head coaches, including the Texans, get a two-week head start on their offseason workouts. Last year, offseason workouts were all virtual. There has been no official announcement from the league on this year's format.
April 19: Offseason workouts can begin for teams with returning head coaches
The remaining 25 teams with returning head coaches begin their offseason programs.
April 23: Last day for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
The Texans have six restricted free agents: safety A.J. Moore, tight end Pharaoh Brown, cornerback Cornell Armstrong, defensive tackle P.J. Hall and running backs Buddy Howell and Dontrell Hilliard. Houston also has one exclusive rights free agent, safety Geno Stone. If the Texans give a tendered offer, the player has until April 23 to sign it.
April 28: Deadline to match offer sheets for RFAs
A restricted free agent can entertain offers from other teams, but the April 28 deadline will be the last day the Texans can match an offer sheet in order to keep a player on their roster.
April 29-May 1: 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland
Last year's 2020 NFL Draft was all virtual and that certainly could be what happens again this year. For now, the 2021 NFL Draft is set to take place in Cleveland, Ohio. The Texans currently don't have a pick until the third round (third pick), but that also could still change.
Round 1: Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m. CT
Rounds 2-3: Friday, April 30 at 6 p.m. CT
Rounds 4-7: Saturday, May 1 at 11 a.m. CT