Free agency continues as NFL offseason calendar moves on

Free agency continues as NFL offseason calendar moves on
March 18, 2013, 10:30 am
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Free agency isn’t over. The Redskins still have some business to conduct and some pretty big names are left out there on the free agent market. By the way, the first part of that is unrelated to the second. The locals will be going after players who do not fit the “pretty big names” description.

In any case, the NFL calendar moves on. The owners meetings get underway today in Arizona. The last two spring meetings had dramatic backdrops. In 2011 the NFL lockout loomed and last year the salary cap penalties that had been slammed down on the Redskins and Cowboys just prior to the start of free agency were very much on the minds of everyone. This year, unfortunately for the Redskins, the cap penalty is considered to be a closed issue by the league. Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan may do some lobbying but it would be nothing short of miraculous if anything got done.

After the NFL disposes of the tuck rule and a makes a few other rule changes it’s back home to get ready for the draft. Prospects will visit Redskins Park and other NFL facilities around the country from later this week through a week or so before the April 25 annual selection meeting in New York. There won’t be any visits as ballyhooed as the one Robert Griffin III made to Ashburn last year but it is likely that the player who will wind up being the Redskins’ top pick (51st overall) will visit at some point.

Before the draft, one of Shanahan’s favorite things gets underway—the offseason program. Starting around April 15 it’s lifting weights and conditioning for about a month before the get on the field for OTA’s in May. That is when we will get early indications as to how players like Brian Orakpo, Adam Carriker and Brandon Meriweather are recovering from their injuries. We already know, of course, that RG3 is ahead of schedule. OK, a little joke there but it will be interesting to see what, if anything, he does during OTA’s.

Actually, we might get our best indication of Griffin’s condition in the week or so before the draft when the 2013 schedule will be announced. If attractive matchups like Mike Shanahan’s return to Denver are early season prime time attractions that might be taken as a good indication that the insiders truly think that Griffin will be ready sooner rather than later. If Washington doesn’t have a prime time game until mid November that means that delays are being anticipated.

There will be a few days of media availability  during OTA’s and all four days of minicamp are open to the press. That comes in mid June and it is the only part of the offseason program that is officially mandatory (although in the eyes of Shanahan attending the entire program is very strongly encouraged). Then it’s about six weeks off and training camp starts on a date to be announced in late July.