Report: NFL Planning to Move Draft, Begin Free Agency Before Combine in 2014

Sharrif Floyd, Roger GoodellThe NFL schedule is about to change in a big way. Well, the offseason anyway.

The NFL and NFL Players Association are on the verge of changing the timing of the NFL draft and moving the start of the league year, and free agency, to before the combine, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

With the new layout, the draft, which is now held annually in the last weekend of April, will move to the middle of May for each of the next three seasons. The initial reasoning behind the move is to avoid a conflict with Easter, which will fall on the final weekend of April in 2014, but it seems the NFL has been hoping to move the draft back for some time now.

The other big change in the NFL offseason calendar would be for the league year and NFL free agency to begin ahead of the scouting combine. The scouting combine took place in the final week of February this offseason with free agency beginning in the second week of March. It’s more likely that the combine will move, along with the draft, into the middle of March and that free agency would begin around the beginning of March as it does now.

The NFL has the authority to change the date of the draft without the NFLPA’s consent, but a change to the start of the league year needs the NFLPA’s approval.

The changes fall in line with the NFL attempting to create more buzz in the offseason, including one premier event each month.

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