Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

There's No Offseason for NFL Teams

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

There's No Offseason for NFL Teams

Article excerpt

Byline: vic ketchman

Once upon a time, there was an offseason. Those days are over.

When the Steelers and Seahawks cap the 2005 NFL season in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, the winner will have roughly four days to celebrate his victory before beginning work on the '06 season. Here's the offseason calendar.

Feb. 9-23 -- Teams must declare on which of their players they wish to use "franchise" or "transition" tags. A "franchise" player remains an unrestricted free agent and may sign with another team but the original team would be compensated with two first-round picks. A "transition" player may sign with another team at no compensation cost but the original team may retain the player by matching any offer he receives.

Should a "franchise" player remain with his original team, he would be paid at the average of the top five salaries in the league at his position and his salary is guaranteed when he signs the "franchise" tender. "Transition" players are paid at the average of the top 10 salaries at their position but the money is not guaranteed. Both tags are for one season.

Feb. 23 -- Teams may begin cutting players.

Feb. 22-28 -- The league's scouts and coaches meet in Indianapolis for the annual scouting combine.

March 3--This is the king of all offseason dates. It is the first day of the league calendar year and it signals the start of free agency and the trading period. Teams must be under the 2006 salary cap figure at midnight on March 3, which means teams can't trade players to make cap room. First, you get under the cap, then you can trade. The '06 salary cap is expected to be no less than $92 million; it was $85.5 million in '05. The Jaguars are $12.9 million under the '06 cap with 50 players under contract. These Jaguars will become unrestricted free agents on March 3: Akin Ayodele, Deke Cooper, Terry Cousin, Greg Favors, Rob Meier, Dennis Norman, Mike Pearson, Ephraim Salaam, Marcellus Wiley, Jamie Winborn and Kenny Wright. …

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