There are only two seasons in the year: Football Season and Waiting For Football Season. The wait began this year at the end of the Super Bowl due to the NFL’s experiment of making the Pro Bowl the prequal to the big event.
Our thirst for anything football will be quenched in a small way this week with the start of the NFL Combine. Leave it to the NFL to milk repetitive skill drills into a cable TV marathon with Mel Kiper and others reporting who helped or hurt themselves with the Draft.
Here are some key dates for pro football lovers:
Feb. 24-Mar. 2 — NFL Scouting Combine
Feb. 25 — Deadline for designating franchise players.
Mar. 4-Apr. 1 — Pro Day Workouts, on-campus tryouts for athletes not invited to the NFL Combine. NFL.com has the schedule by date and campus.
March 5 — Free agency begins. If a new labor agreement is not in place by this date, there will be no cap on player salaries, but severe restrictions on free agent movement by players. Teams must tender a salary offer to Restricted Free Agents on their roster to preserve their right to match offers from other teams.
March 21-24 — Annual owners meeting
Early April — 2010 regular season schedule announced
April 22-24 — 2010 NFL Draft, because we all need a third day of Draft coverage.
July 22 — Deadline for franchise players to sign new contracts
Aug. 7 — Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Canton, Ohio. Big day for Russ Grimm. Who’s going to Canton?
Aug. 8 — Hall of Fame Game
Aug. 31— Roster cutdown to maximum of 75 players
Sept. 4— Roster cutdown to maximum of 53 players
Sept. 9-13 — 2010 Kickoff Weekend
Oct. 19 — Trading deadline
Nov. 16 — Signing deadline for franchise players
Jan. 2 — Regular season ends.
Jan. 8-9 — Wild Card Weekend.
Jan. 15-16 — Divisional Playoffs.
Jan. 23 — Conference Championships.
Feb. 6 — Super Bowl XLIV, North Texas. Where will you be and who will you cheer for on this day.
Early February — Pro Bowl, Honolulu, Hawaii
I’m waiting to see if Danny Snyder is attending the NFL Combine this week. I’ll take it as a bad sign if he is anywhere near Indianapolis.
Why do I get the feeling that the Washington Redskins will not designate any 2010 franchise players? The official team web site lists Redskin free agents. None are franchise quality.
The Redskins have five draft picks remaining for 2010 (Rounds 1,2,4,5,7). The Skins used its third round pick on DE Jeremy Jarmon in last year’s Supplemental Draft. Jarmon is still growing up in the NFL, but no argument here on the use of the pick. The heartburn comes from the loss of the sixth round pick for trade for Miami Dolphin DE Jason Taylor.
Taylor suffered a freak medical condition in his calf in 2008 that kept him sidelined most of the season. Demetric Evans started 11 games in Taylor’s place to produce 33 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Combined with 3.5 sacks made by Taylor when he played, Washington got good production from the left defensive end position.
The Skins misused Taylor and cut him when he declined to report for offseason workouts that were not part of his contract. Now both he and Washington’s sixth round pick are in Miami. The presence of both DE/LB Brian Orakpo and Jarmon take the sting out of that.
Of all the wheeling and dealing that will go over thenext month, you won’t hear many that involve future draft picks. If the NFL owners and players don’t extend the Collective Bargaining Agreement by March 2011, there will be no 2011 NFL Draft. How do you place a value on a pick in a draft that might not happen?