As the 2018 season came to a close with the New England Patriots defeating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII, all eyes now turn to 2019. Here are key dates for Redskins fans to keep an eye out for over the next seven months leading up to kickoff in early September.
February 4th - The day following the Super Bowl marked the ignition of the NFL's waiver system. The Redskins sit at15th in waiver claim priority -- they have the 15th selection in the draft -- and will remain in that spot until early into the 2019 season, when the order will be based on NFL standings.
February 19th - This is the first day for teams to designate one franchise or transitional player, which prevents a player from hitting the free agent market in March. Usually, the tagged player either signs a long-term deal before the mid-July deadline (July 15 this year) or plays the upcoming season under the financial terms of the tag (March 5 is the tag deadline). The Redskins have utilized the tag on four players over the years, including former quarterback Kirk Cousins in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Two others (Fred Davis in 2012 and Brian Orakpo in 2014) each played a season under the tag.
February 26-March 4th - The annual NFL Scouting Combine is held at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. The top draft-eligible athletes from schools around the country showcase their skills to scouts from all 32 franchises in a series of drills (40-yard dash, vertical jump, bench press), as well as more detailed evaluations that include 1-on-1 interviews and physicals conducted by team doctors.
March 11-13th - In the days leading up to the new year, teams use this time to enter into contract negotiations with the agents of upcoming unrestricted free agents. This ultimately sets the stage for free agency.
March 13th- The day where all phones are turned on high volume and eyes are glued to the TV. The start of NFL free agency officially kicks off at 4 p.m ET but negotiations begin well before. As the first couple of hours tend to be the most active as teams look to close deals with players, The Redskins have been relatively quiet during the signing period in recent years, using the time to boost depth instead of making the big splash.
March 24-27th - The NFL's annual meeting is held in Phoenix. At the "owners meetings," the congregation is used to discuss the prior and upcoming season. The meetings are also a time for the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to be reviewed, and any adjustments that are deemed necessary are discussed.
Mid-April - The NFL releases the official schedule for the 2019 season that offers fans a new burst of excitement after months of zero NFL action. It also allows fans, coaches, and players to highlight key dates that coincide with the list of 2019 opponents that have already been released. The upcoming regular season slate for the Redskins includes a home matchup with the champion Patriots, as well as defending NFC-North champion Chicago Bears. Players can start prepping for games as a collective unit on April 15, when teams with a returning head coach are eligible to begin the league's nine-week offseason workout program.
April 25-27th - The Washington Redskins are now on the clock. The NFL Draft arrives in Nashville. The Redskins currently possess five picks in the seven-round draft, having traded their fourth-round pick to the Packers for safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix at the trade deadline in 2018, while using their initial 6th-round selection in the upcoming draft on defensive back Adonis Alexander in the NFL's supplemental draft in July. They are projected to have three more compensatory picks.
May 3rd- This is the deadline for teams to exercise the fifth-year option on their 2016 first-round draft picks. This year, the Redskins face a decision in the form of wide receiver Josh Doctson, the No. 22-overall pick in 2016, who has shown flashes of ability, but has yet to put together a season Redskins coaches have been looking for.
May 3-6th - The Redskins could option to hold a three-day rookie minicamp Friday through Sunday, or Saturday through Monday.
May 16-19th - NFLPA Rookie Premiere is held in Los Angeles. Invited rookies (typically first and second-round selections) must be permitted by their respective teams to attend. Some players may be unavailable for the event due to rookie minicamp, OTAs, or scheduled workouts.
Mid May- The 2019 draft picks as well as undrafted rookies and a group of tryout players will hit the practice turf in Ashburn for the Redskins annual rookie minicamp. The camp is used for the draft selections as a "get comfortable" period, while the undrafted rookie free agents and tryout players use the time as their chance to prove to Redskins coaches that they deserve a spot on the roster.
Mid-May to Mid-June - The offseason workout begins with three weeks of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) that resemble training camp practices without live contact. After OTAs, the program ends with a brief minicamp that takes essentially the same but is mandatory.
Late July- After a one-month break, training camp begins. The Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, VA. is set to host camp for the eighth consecutive summer.
August 1st - The annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio kicks off the preseason. Washington has appeared in the game five times, most recently in 2008. The game caps of a celebration of the newest inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame from the corresponding year.
August 8-11th - This is the window for the rest of the league's first of four preseason games. The preseason schedule traditionally is announced shortly before the regular season schedule in April.
August 31st - Cut-down day. From their 90-man roster, Washington must release players to reduce down to the league maximum of 53 on their roster, just days before the regular season opener. The roster in week 1 and week 17 almost never look the same as the toll of an NFL season weighs heavy on a franchise. The Redskins have been all too familiar with this the past two seasons.
September 5th - As autumn arrives and the heat of summer fades only seven months removed from the Super Bowl, the season kicks off. Traditionally, the champs play host. Teams on the Patriots' home schedule that would make sense for opening night are the Chiefs, re-creating the 2018 AFC Championship or maybe even the up-start Cleveland Browns. There have also been rumors Green Bay and Chicago may play each other to celebrate the league's 100th anniversary.