Football is back, so it's a good time to present the important dates for the New England Patriots and the NFL for the 2021 season and the next offseason.
Sunday, Sept. 5 — Final day of preseason training camp for all clubs, as defined in CBA Article 23, Section 10.
Sept. 6-11 — In accordance with the Personnel (Injury) Report Policy, each club is required to file a Practice Report with the NFL Communications department by 4 p.m., New York time, (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for a regular season Sunday game; Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for a Thursday game; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for a Monday game; and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for a Saturday game.
Each club must also file a weekly regular season Game Status Report with the NFL Communications department by 4 p.m., New York time (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) on Wednesday for a Thursday game, Friday for a Sunday game, Saturday for a Monday game, and Thursday for a Saturday game. An update must be reported if there is any change in a player's condition after the initial Game Status Report is filed. Regular Season Week 1.
Sept. 9, 12-13 — Regular Season Week 1.
Sunday, Sept. 12 — Miami at New England, 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Sept. 19 — New England at New York Jets, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Sept. 26 — New Orleans at New England, 1 p.m. (FOX)
Tuesday, Sept. 28 — Beginning on the Tuesday following the third weekend of regular season games, the claiming priority is based on the inverse order of the standing of clubs in the current season’s games.
Sunday, Oct. 4 — Tampa Bay at New England, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Sunday, Oct. 10 — New England at Houston, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Oct. 12-13 — Fall League Meeting, TBD.
Sunday, Oct. 17 — Dallas at New England, 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Mid-October — Beginning on the sixth calendar day prior to a club’s seventh regular season game (including any bye week) clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness (if the player failed his preseason physical due to a non-football injury or illness) for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, provided that no player may be activated to participate in a Week Six game.
Saturday, Oct. 23 — 2021 Patriots Hall of Fame induction of Richard Seymour and Tracy Sormanti
Sunday, Oct. 24 — New York Jets at New England, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Oct. 31 — New England at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. (CBS)
Tuesday, Nov. 2 — All trading ends for 2021 at 4 p.m., New York time.
Wednesday, Nov. 3 — Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.
Sunday, Nov. 7 — New England at Carolina, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Nov. 14 — Cleveland at New England, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Tuesday, Nov. 16 — At 4 p.m., New York time, signing period ends for Franchise Players who are eligible to receive offer sheets.
Prior to 4 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their unsigned Franchise and Transition Players, including Franchise Players who were eligible to receive offer sheets until this date. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2021.
Prior to 4 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their unrestricted free agents to whom the “UFA Tender” was made. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2021.
Prior to 4 p.m., New York time, deadline for Clubs to sign their restricted free agents, including those to whom the “June 1 Tender” was made. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2021.
Prior to 4 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their drafted rookies. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2021.
Thursday, Nov. 18 — New England at Atlanta, 8:20 p.m. (FOX/NFLN/AMAZON)
Sunday, Nov. 28 — Tennessee at New England, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Monday, Dec. 6 — New England at Buffalo, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, Dec. 12 — BYE WEEK
Sunday, Dec. 19 — New England at Indianapolis, TBD
Sunday, Dec. 26 — Buffalo at New England, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Jan. 2 — Jacksonville at New England, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Jan. 9 — New England at Miami, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Monday, Jan. 10 — Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2019 College Draft or any undrafted rookie who signed in 2020. Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts.
Option exercise period begins for fifth-year option for first-round selections from the 2019 College Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after January 10, 2022, but prior to May 3, 2022 (i.e., not later than May 2).
Jan. 15-16 — Wild Card Playoff Games.
Monday, Jan. 17 — Deadline for college players who are underclassmen to apply for Special Eligibility. A list of underclassmen who have been approved for entry into the 2022 College Draft will be sent to clubs on January 21.
Saturday, Jan. 22 — NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California.
Jan. 22-23 — Divisional Playoff Games.
Friday, Jan. 28 — HBCU Combine, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama.
Sunday, Jan. 30 — AFC and NFC Championship Games.
Thursday, Feb. 3 — East-West Shrine Bowl, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
Saturday, Feb. 5 — Senior Bowl, Hancock Whitney Stadium, Mobile, Alabama
Sunday, Feb. 6 — NFL Pro Bowl, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
Sunday, Feb. 13 — Super Bowl LVI, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California.
Saturday, Feb. 19 — HBCU Legacy Bowl, Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
Mar. 1-7 — NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
Tuesday, March 8 — Prior to 4 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 14-16 — During the period beginning at 12:00 noon, New York time, on March 14 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 16, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2021 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 16.
During the above two-day negotiating period, a prospective UFA who is not represented by an NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor is permitted to communicate directly with a new club’s front office officials (excluding the head coach and other members of the club’s coaching staff) regarding contract negotiations.
No prospective unrestricted free agent is permitted to execute a contract with a new club until 4 p.m., New York time, on March 16.
Wednesday, March 16 — The 2022 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4 p.m., New York time.
The first day of the 2022 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 16. Clubs will receive a Personnel Notice that will include all transactions submitted to the League office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 16.
Wednesday, March 16 — Trading period for 2022 begins at 4 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2021 contracts.
March 27-30 — Annual League Meeting, The Breakers, Palm Beach, Florida.
Monday, April 4 — Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2021 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
Monday, April 18 — Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs
Wednesday, April 20 — Deadline to bring draft-eligible players to their facilities for a physical examination.
Friday, April 22 — Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
Wednesday, April 27 — Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to restricted free agents. ... Deadline to time, test, and interview draft-eligible players.
April 28-30 — NFL Draft, Las Vegas, Nevada