The 2017 NFL offseason is underway, and that means we are starting to arrive at some critical dates. You might have heard on Monday about waiver claims already being processed. The Cleveland Browns claimed defensive back Tyvis Powell from the Seattle Seahawks, and the New York Jets claimed defensive tackle Mike Pennel from the Green Bay Packers.
One of the notable waiver moves was the Pittsburgh Steelers decision to release cornerback Justin Gilbert. The San Francisco 49ers hold the second spot in waiver priority, so if they decide to place a claim, there is a good chance they could get him.
Monday afternoon, former NFL agent Joel Corry offered up a great rundown of critical dates between now and the middle of March. Monday marked the first day of the waivers system. The next notable date across the league is February 15, when teams can start designating players with the franchise or transition tag.
However, numerous contract clauses will kick in between now and then. For example, Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald’s 2017 base salaries become fully guaranteed on February 10. Additionally, that day is when DeSean Jackson’s 2017 contract year voids, making him a free agent when the new league year begins in March.
The 49ers will almost assuredly not be using the franchise or transition tags. The next big date on their calendar will be March 2. Starting that day, Colin Kaepernick will have five days to formally determine whether or not he will void his 2017 contract year and become a free agent when the new league year starts. The deadline to place the franchise or transition tag on a player is March 1, so that means the 49ers could not use the tag on Kaepernick.
Adam Schefter reported last week that sources indicate Kaepernick is expected to opt out. It’s something that has been expected for some time, but it is the first “report” of the offseason about a potential decision.
After that, the free agency negotiating period opens on March 7. Teams and agents can begin negotiations at 9 a.m. PT, and that runs through 12:59:59 pm PT on March 9. At 1:00 p.m. on March 9, the new league year begins. Teams can begin signing free agents and executing trades. The top-51 salary cap calculation begins, which means the top 51 salaries on the 90-man roster.
March 11 is a big date after that. The Buffalo Bills have until that day to pick up Tyrod Taylor’s option. Right now, Taylor can remain on the roster whether or not the option is picked up. He is currently due a $27.5 million base salary in 2017. If the Bills pick up the option, the money changes to $12 million in base salary, and $15.5 million in a bonus that will prorate for cap purposes, all of which is fully guaranteed. If they do not pick up the option but he remains on the roster, they would owe him that huge base salary. So, either they will pick up the option or release him.
View the full rundown of dates here.