What does the Patriots’ calendar look like for the next few months?

Joe Thuney spent the first five years of his career in New England before signing with the Chiefs last year.

The Patriots are on to the offseason. Here’s a quick look at some of the most important dates on the NFL calendar for the next three months, viewed  through a New England prism.

Feb. 5: Senior Bowl, Mobile, Alabama: One of three opportunities for teams to get a look at prospects. It’s a stretch that includes the HBCU Combine at the University of South Alabama (Jan. 28), and the East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas (Feb. 3).

Feb. 13: Super Bowl LVI, SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles: A lot of it depends on what happens during conference championship weekend, but we’re almost guaranteed to get some sort of New England connection when it comes to this year’s Super Bowl. The Niners start ex-Patriots’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, while the Rams have former New England running back Sony Michel, and the Chiefs’ offensive line is anchored by former Patriots’ guard Joe Thuney. The only local connection with the Bengals is likely Mark Duffner, the former head coach at Holy Cross who now serves as Cincinnati’s senior defensive assistant. 


Feb. 22: The start of the franchise/transition player designation period: Just over a week after the Super Bowl comes the opening of the franchise tag window, notable because the Patriots have 14 players who are set to become unrestricted free agents. While the franchise tag can be an expensive exercise, given the number of personnel decisions on their plate this offseason, it’s certainly a possibility for New England this year. One potential tag candidate is cornerback J.C. Jackson , who would likely draw a sizable contract on the open market. Tagging Jackson would reportedly cost $17.3 million, but could also allow the Patriots to negotiate a long-term deal with Jackson and his reps.

March 1-7: NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis: One of the biggest offseason gatherings, there’s almost always plenty of news involving the Patriots, even if it’s in meme form.

March 8: The end of the franchise/transition tag window.

As a refresher, here’s a look at how Bill Belichick and the Patriots have used the franchise tag in the past.

2002: Kicker Adam Vinatieri. Ended up signing a three-year contract.

2003: Safety Tebucky Jones. Tagged and traded to the Saints for three draft picks.

2005: Vinatieri. Played one season under the tag and signed with the Colts as a free agent the following offseason. 


2007: Cornerback Asante Samuel. Played one season under the tag and signed with the Eagles as a free agent the following offseason.

2009: Quarterback Matt Cassel. Tagged and traded to the Chiefs with Mike Vrabel for a second-round pick.

2010: Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork. Ended up signing a five-year contract.

2011: Offensive lineman Logan Mankins. Ended up signing a six-year contract.2012: Wide receiver Wes Welker. Played one season under the tag and signed with the Broncos as a free agent the following offseason. 

2015: Kicker Stephen Gostkowski: Ended up signing a four-year contract.

2020: Thuney. Played one season under the tag and signed with the Chiefs as a free agent the following offseason. 

March 14-16: The legal tampering window: Teams are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents. While nothing can be signed, this period usually offers a pretty good look at who will ultimately end up where when the game of free-agent musical chairs ends.

March 16, 3:59 p.m.: The end of the league year: Teams have to have their financial houses in order by this afternoon, because one minute later…

March 16, 4 p.m.: The start of the new league year, and the beginning of free agency: The Patriots had an epic start to free agency last year. With less financial flexibility this time around, they might not be as active right out of the gate.


March 27-30: Annual league meetings, Florida.

April 4: Start of offseason workouts for teams with new head coaches: No worries in Foxborough, but if one of the assistants (Jerod Mayo? Josh McDaniels?) lands a head coaching gig in the next month, the first week of April will set up to be a big stretch.

April 18: Start of offseason workouts for teams with no head coaching changes: The first chance Belichick will get a chance to take a look at the 2022 roster. 

April 22: The final day of the restricted free-agent signing period: The Patriots have three restricted free agents currently on their roster: Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, and Jakob Johnson.

April 28-30: NFL Draft, Las Vegas: The Patriots have the 21st overall pick. As of now, New England has a total of five picks, with also a second-rounder, third-rounder, fourth-rounder, and sixth-rounder. They could earn an extra third-rounder in both 2022 and 2023 if another team hires one of their assistant coaches or executives who is from a minority group as a head coach or general manager.


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