Agent's Take: The NFL's crucial 2019 offseason dates and what they mean for your team

After the Patriots came out as champions in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history, financial decisions move to the forefront as the NFL heads to the offseason.

Decisions made in the early part of the offseason can have long-lasting ramifications for teams. Here's a look at key offseason dates running through the first week of the 2019 league year, which begins on March 13.

Some dates have league-wide importance. Others can potentially affect specific player contracts and the salary cap of individual teams because they are crucial to the timing of contract restructures, pay cuts and players being released. Notable players have been highlighted on the appropriate date with how the event is specified in their respective contracts. Less heralded players are only mentioned on dates without a lot of activity.

Feb. 4

  • The waiver system for 2019 began. Players with fewer than four years of service for benefit purposes are subject to waivers and their contracts can be claimed by other teams. Players with four or more years of service become free agents when released and can be immediately signed.

Feb. 5 (second day of waiver period)

  • $3.018 million of Dolphins cornerback Bobby McCain's $5.475 million 2020 base salary, which was guaranteed for injury at signing, became fully guaranteed.

Feb. 6 (third day of waiver period)

  • Raiders quarterback Derek Carr's $19.9 million 2019 base salary is fully guaranteed. Carr's base salary was guaranteed for injury at signing.
  • $5 million of Raiders offensive guard Gabe Jackson's $6.75 million 2019 base salary is fully guaranteed. The $5 million was guaranteed for injury at signing.
  • This is the deadline for the Giants to exercise an option on running back Jonathan Stewart's contract. A $500,000 payment is required to pick up his 2019 contract year worth $2.95 million.
  • The Jets released center Spencer Long before his $3 million fifth day of the 2019 league year roster bonus became fully guaranteed; $6,718,750 of cap room was gained from Long's release.

Feb. 8 (fifth day of waiver period)

  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' $19.5 million 2020 third day of the league year roster bonus is fully guaranteed. The bonus was guaranteed for injury at signing.
  • The salaries of several Seahawks are guaranteed. $5.2 million of safety Kam Chancellor's $10 million 2019 base salary, which was guaranteed for injury at signing, becomes fully guaranteed. $1.75 million of offensive tackle Duane Brown's $8 million 2019 base salary, wide receiver Tyler Lockett's $3.907 million 2019 base salary, $2.25 million of center Justin Britt's $4.5 million 2019 base salary and $1 million of safety Bradley McDougald $2.9 million 2019 base salary are fully guaranteed. These amounts were guaranteed for injury at signing.
  • This is the first day for the Broncos to exercise options for cornerback Chris Harris, linebacker Brandon Marshall, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and defensive end Derek Wolfe's contracts. Separate $1 million payments are required to pick up Harris and Wolfe's 2019 contracts for $7.9 million and $8.55 million. There isn't an option payment associated with Marshall and Sanders' 2019 contract years of $7 million and $10.25 million respectively. $1 million and $1.5 million of Marshall and Sanders' base salaries would be fully guaranteed though. The deadline to exercise these options is the last day of the 2018 league year, which is March 13.
  • Cardinals offensive guard Mike Iupati's 2019 contract year voids. Iupati becomes an unrestricted free agent at the start of the 2019 league year. The Cardinals will have a $3.7 million cap charge from the bonus proration relating to Iupati's 2019 contract year.

Feb. 11 (30 days prior to 2019 league year)

  • This is the final day for the Eagles to pick up an option on quarterback Nick Foles' 2019 through 2021 contract years. The Eagles have reportedly told Foles the option will be exercised. Foles has $20 million (2019), $29 million (2020) and $29 million (2021) base salaries. The $20 million becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2019 league year (March 15). Foles' 2020 and 2021 contract years would automatically void if still on the roster for the 23rd day prior to the start of the 2020 league year (mid-February 2020).

Feb. 16 (25 days prior to 2019 league year)

  • Since the option is being picked up, this is deadline for Foles to extinguish his 2019 through 2021 contract years by giving written notice to the Eagles and paying $2 million, which he is expected to do. Eagles would still have the right to designate Foles as a franchise or transition player.

Feb. 19 (22 days prior to 2019 league year)

  • The two-week period where teams can designate franchise or transition players begins. Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark, Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford and Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence are most likely to be franchised. The defensive end and linebacker franchise numbers should be $17.291 million and $15.591 million, respectively, if the 2019 salary cap is set at $190 million. Lawrence was franchised in 2018. A second franchise tag on Lawrence provides for a 120 percent increase over his $17.143 million 2018 number. Lawrence's would be $20,571,600.
  • This is the deadline for the Jaguars to exercise an option in defensive lineman Calais Campbell's contract. A $3 million payment is required to pick up Campbell's 2019 and 2020 contract years, with $12 million and $15 million base salaries. It's also the deadline for Jacksonville to pick up the option on tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins' 2019 contract year for $4.75 million. A $500,000 payment is necessary to pick up Jenkins' option year.

Feb. 26-March 4

  • The NFL Scouting Combine takes place in Indianapolis. Meetings between agents of impending free agents and teams routinely occur at the combine, although these types of discussions are prohibited by NFL rules. Teams are rarely penalized for tampering with players from other teams when those players are scheduled to become free agents.

March 3 (10 days prior to 2019 league year)

  • Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's 2019 and 2020 contract years void to make him an unrestricted free agent when the 2019 league year starts. The voiding frees up $20.645 million of cap space for the Saints.

March 4 (nine days prior to last day of 2018 league year)

  • This is the final day for the Rams to pick up an option for center John Sullivan's 2019 contract year worth $4.25 million. A $2 million payment is required to pick up Sullivan's 2019 year.

March 5 (eight days prior to 2019 league year)

  • The period for designating franchise or transition players ends at 4 p.m. ET. The Cowboys are expected to franchise defensive end Demarcus Lawrence for a second-straight year at $20,571,600 if a long-term deal isn't in place before this deadline.

March 11-March 13

  • NFL teams are allowed to negotiate with the agents of prospective unrestricted free agents during a 48 hour period beginning March 11, which ends at 3:59 p.m. ET on March 13. During the two-day window, prospective unrestricted free agents can't visit teams or have direct contact with team employees, except those from their current clubs. A player's ability to re-sign with his current club isn't affected by the rule. The negotiating period does not apply to unsigned players receiving restricted free agent, franchise or transition tenders. Players who don't have an agent are also prohibited from having discussions with teams during this period.

March 13 (end of 2018 league year)

  • 2018 league year ends at 3:59 p.m. ET.
  • This is the deadline for the Eagles to pick up options on offensive guard Brandon Brooks ($8 million salary), safety Malcolm Jenkins ($8.35 million salary), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan ($11 million salary), offensive tackle Lane Johnson ($11.1 million salary) and offensive tackle Jason Peters' ($8 million salary) 2019 contract years. A $2 million third day of the 2019 league year roster bonus is a part of Peters' $8 million. He also has $2.5 million in not likely to earned incentives.
  • This is the last day for the 49ers to pick up options for wide receiver Pierre Garcon ($6 million salary) and fullback Kyle Juszczyk's ($3.25 million salary) 2019 contract years.
  • Buccaneers offensive tackle Demar Dotson becomes an unrestricted free agent if this deadline to exercise an option on his 2019 contract year worth $4.725 million isn't met. A $150,000 payment is required to pick up the 2019 year.
  • Saints defensive end Alex Okafor's 2019 contract year voids. Okafor is an unrestricted free agent at the start of the 2019 league year. The Saints will have a $950,000 salary cap charge from the bonus proration relating to Okafor's 2019 contract year.
  • This is the final day for the Cowboys to pick up options for wide receiver Allen Hurns and center Joe Looney's 2019 contract years, worth $5 million and $1 million respectively. $5 million of cap space would be gained by declining the option with Hurns.

March 13 (first day of the 2019 league year)

  • The top 51 begins. Only the top 51 salaries (i.e.; cap numbers) on a team, including unsigned franchise, transition, restricted free agent and exclusive rights tenders, count against the salary cap during the offseason. All teams must be under the salary cap prior to 4 p.m. ET.
  • The 2019 league year and free agency begin at 4 p.m. ET
  • The trading period begins at 4 p.m. ET.
  • The Eagles' 10 day window to exercise an option for defensive tackle Fletcher Cox's 2021 contract year ($16 million salary) opens. If the required $14.670 million payment to pick up Cox's 2021 season isn't made, his $930,000 2019 base salary with $830,000 fully guaranteed increases to $15.6 million where $15.5 million is fully guaranteed.
  • This is the first day of a three day period for the Rams to exercise an option for wide receiver Brandin Cooks' 2023 contract year worth $14 million. Cooks' $16 million 2019 base salary will reduce to a fully guaranteed $1 million if the Rams commit to making the necessary $17 million payment to pick up option for Cooks' 2023 contract year. Cooks' $10 million 2020 base salary, which was guaranteed injury at signing, reduces to $8 million as well.
  • The salary for the 2019 option year with 2015 first round picks, which was guaranteed for injury upon exercise, becomes fully guaranteed. Some of the players include Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston ($20.922 million), Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota ($20.922 million), Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper ($13.924 million), Jets defensive end Leonard Williams ($14.2 million) and Rams cornerback Marcus Peters ($9.069 million).
  • $2 million of Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola's $5.95 million 2019 base salary, which was guaranteed for injury when he signed, is fully guaranteed.

March 15 (third day of 2019 league year)

  • This is the last day for the Falcons to pick up their options for offensive tackle Jake Matthews and quarterback Matt Ryan's 2023 contract years worth $14 million and $28 million respectively. A $9 million payment is required with Matthews. It's $10 million for Ryan. $15.5 million of Ryan's $23 million 2021 base salary was guaranteed for injury at signing. $10 million of this $15.5 million was fully guaranteed when he signed. The $10 million guarantee voids if the option is exercised. The remaining $5.5 million becomes fully guaranteed.
  • The guarantees for four prominent Rams are triggered. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks' injury guaranteed $4 million third day of the 2020 league year roster bonus is fully guaranteed. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald's $17 million 2020 base salary, which was guaranteed for injury at signing, becomes fully guaranteed without an offset. Running back Todd Gurley's $5.5 million 2020 base salary and $7.55 million third day of the 2020 league year roster bonus, both guaranteed for injury when the contract was signed last July, are fully guaranteed. Only $2.5 million of the roster bonus is subject to offset. Offensive tackle Rob Havenstein's $3.75 million third day of the 2020 league year roster bonus is fully guaranteed. It was guaranteed for injury at signing. Cooks and Havenstein's respective $9.459 million and $5 million roster bonuses, already fully guaranteed, are due. There isn't an offset with Cooks' bonus.
  • The Bears have several contract guarantees vest. $4 million of tight end Trey Burton's $6.75 million 2020 base salary is fully guaranteed. Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman's $3 million third day of the 2020 league year roster bonus becomes secure. Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks' $8 million 2019 base salary is fully guaranteed. Outside linebacker Khalil Mack's $13.3 million 2020 base salary is secure. $7.2 million of wide receiver Allen Robinson's $9.9 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed. There were corresponding injury guarantees when the five players signed their contracts. Robinson also has a fully-guaranteed $3 million roster bonus payable.
  • Packers wide receiver Davante Adams ($3.5 million), tackle David Bakhtiari ($1.5 million), tight end Jimmy Graham ($5 million), center Corey Linsley ($1 million), linebacker Nick Perry ($4.8 million), quarterback Aaron Rodgers ($13.4 million) and defensive back Tramon Williams ($1 million) are due roster bonuses. Rodgers' bonus is already fully guaranteed. The others don't contain any type of guarantees.
  • $5.1 million of Cardinals running back David Johnson's $10.2 million 2020 base salary is already fully guaranteed. The remaining $5.1million is secure. The entire amount was guaranteed for injury at signing.
  • $8 million of Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram's $17 million 2019 base salary is fully guaranteed. The $8 million was guaranteed for injury at signing.
  • The base salaries of a few Vikings become secure. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs ($8.9 million), defensive end Everson Griffen ($10.9 million), defensive tackle Linval Joseph ($8.9 million) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes' ($10.4 million)  base salaries are fully guaranteed. It's $9.4 million of $9.9 million with defensive end Danielle Hunter. The salaries were guaranteed for injury when their contracts were signed.
  • Multiple Chiefs have salary guarantees activated. $7.25 million of safety Eric Berry's $12.4 million 2019 base salary is fully guaranteed. A separate $2.95 of this base salary was fully guaranteed last March. The $10.2 million was guaranteed for injury at signing. $1,567,023 of offensive tackle Eric Fisher's $10.35 million 2019 base salary is already fully guaranteed. The guarantee amount increases by $7 million. $8,567,023 was guaranteed for injury at signing. $2.253 million of offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif's $6.203 million 2019 base salary became fully guaranteed last March. Another $3.747 million is completely secure. The $6 million was guaranteed for injury at signing.
  • $9 million of Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore's $9.5 million 2018 base salary was guaranteed for injury at signing. The $9 million reduces to a fully guaranteed $5 million.
  • Three Steelers have roster bonuses payable. The players are kicker Chris Boswell ($2 million), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ($5 million) and linebacker Vince Williams ($2.9 million).
  • Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller's $7 million roster bonus is due.
  • A couple of Panthers have salary guarantees vest. $6.5 million of defensive tackle Kawann Short's $12.5 million 2019 base salary is fully guaranteed. The $6.5 million was guaranteed for injury when the deal was signed. $2.5 million of defensive tackle Dontari Poe's $4.5 million 2019 base salary, which was guaranteed for injury at signing, is fully guaranteed.
  • Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins and defensive end Carlos Dunlap's respective $3.5 million and $4 million roster bonuses are due.
  • Falcons running back Devonta Freeman and cornerback Desmond Trufant have money fully guaranteed: Freeman's $3.75 million 2019 base salary and Trufant's $9.5 million 2019 base salary. These salaries were guaranteed for injury at signing.
  • Raiders wide receiver Jordy Nelson's $3 million injury guaranteed 2019 base salary is fully guaranteed.
  • $2 million of Dolphins safety Reshad Jones' $11.485 million 2020 base salary is fully guaranteed. The $2 million was guaranteed for injury at signing.
  • $6.92 million of Saints tackle Terron Armstead's $10.7 million 2019 base salary becomes fully guaranteed. The $6.92 million was guaranteed for injury at signing. Armstead's $500,000 roster bonus is also payable.
  • Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus' $2 million roster bonus is due.
  • Browns offensive guard Joel Bitonio and offensive tackle Chris Hubbard's have salary guarantees that are triggered. $1,335,223 of Bitonio's $6.5 million 2019 base salary is already fully guaranteed. The remaining $5,164,777 becomes fully guaranteed. Hubbard's $6.5 million 2019 base salary becomes secure. The entire amounts of the base salaries were guaranteed for injury at signing.
  • $2 million of Cardinals offensive guard Justin Pugh's $5 million 2020 base salary, which was guaranteed for injury at signing, is already fully guaranteed. The other $3 million is fully guaranteed.

March 17 (fifth day of 2019 league year)

  • Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has two different $6 million roster bonuses payable. One was guaranteed for injury only at signing. The other became fully guaranteed last March. Roster bonuses are also due for Colts defensive tackle Denico Autry ($1 million), offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo ($2 million) and tight end Eric Ebron ($1 million).
  • Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's fully guaranteed $5.5 million roster bonus is due. His $6 million 2020 fifth day of the league year is fully guaranteed. It was guaranteed for injury at signing. Neither bonus has an offset.
  • Giants quarterback Eli Manning's $5 million roster bonus is payable; $17 million of cap space would be gained from releasing or trading Manning before paying this bonus.
  • Several Buccaneers have guarantees vest. Tight end Cameron Brate's $7 million 2019 base salary is fully guaranteed. $11.75 million of wide receiver Mike Evans $16.75 million 2019 base salary is guaranteed for skill. $7.5 million of offensive guard Ali Marpet's $10.625 million 2019 base salary becomes fully guaranteed. He also has a $7.5 million roster bonus payable. $7.5 million of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul's $13.65 million 2019 base salary is fully guaranteed. The full base salaries were guaranteed for injury upon signing.
  • Three key Titans have salary fully guaranteed. Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey's $10.55 million 2019 base salary and offensive tackle Taylor Lewan's $16 million 2020 base salary are completely secure. Both salaries were guaranteed for injury at signing. $500,000 of tight end Delanie Walker's $4.08 million 2019 base salary is already secure. A total of $2.19 million is fully guaranteed. This amount was guaranteed for injury when Walker signed his contract extension last July.
  • Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles' $1 million roster bonus is due. Bortles is expected to be released although $6.5 million of his $14 million 2019 base salary is already fully guaranteed (with an offset). The Jaguars will have a $16.5 million cap charge from releasing Bortles unless a post-June designation is used. $5 million of teammate Telvin Smith's $9.75 million 2019 base salary becomes fully guaranteed. The linebacker's entire base salary was guaranteed for injury upon him signing his contract in 2017.
  • $8 million of Cowboys offensive guard Zack Martin's $11 million 2020 base salary, which contains an injury guarantee, is fully guaranteed.
  • Two more Steelers have roster bonuses payable: Antonio Brown ($2.5 million) and defensive end Stephon Tuitt ($3 million).
  • The salaries of a few Redskins players are fully guaranteed. Offensive tackle Morgan Moses' $4.75 million 2019 base salary becomes fully guaranteed. $1 million of wide receiver Paul Richardson's $5 million 2019 base salary is already fully guaranteed, and the remaining $4 million is fully guaranteed. Quarterback Alex Smith's $16 million 2020 base salary becomes totally secure. There were injury guarantees relating to the full amounts when Moses, Richardson and Smith signed their contracts.
  • Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan's $500,000 roster bonus is payable.
  • For the Dolphins, $2.5 million of linebacker Kiko Alonso's $6.485 million 2019 base salary becomes fully guaranteed. The $2.5 million was guaranteed for injury at signing. Also, $2 million of wide receiver Kenny Stills' $7.975 million 2019 base salary is already fully guaranteed. Another $1 million becomes fully guaranteed.
  • Chargers center Mike Pouncey's fully guaranteed $1.5 million roster bonus is payable.
  • $2 million of Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei's $7.15 million 2019 base salary, which was guaranteed for injury at signing, is already fully guaranteed. The remaining $5.15 million becomes fully guaranteed.
  • Bengals offensive tackle Cordy Glenn has a $2 million roster bonus payable.
  • $2 million of Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham's $8 million 2019 base salary is already fully guaranteed. The other $6 million becomes completely secure. The $8 million was guaranteed for injury at signing. 
Former Sports Agent

Joel Corry is a former sports agent who helped found Premier Sports & Entertainment, a sports management firm that represents professional athletes and coaches. Before his tenure at Premier, Joel worked... Full Bio

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