By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This Sunday was weird.

For the first time in about six months, there was no football to watch. On the positive side, the official start of the 2016 season is just about three weeks away. It can’t come soon enough.

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Here are six key dates to keep an eye on.


6. February 16th

Sam Bradford

The Eagles will have to decide with or not they want to franchise tag QB Sam Bradford. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

This is the first day for teams to designate the franchise or transition tags.


5. March 1st

This is the deadline for teams to designate the franchise or transition tag. They have until 4:00 p.m. ET to do so, or else said player will become a free-agent.


4. March 7-9th

Drew Rosenhaus

Popular sports agent Drew Rosenhaus (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Teams are allowed to contact and negotiate with agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents at 4 p.m. ET on March 9. A free-agent cannot be officially signed to a contract with a new team until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 9th.

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3. March 9th, 4:00 p.m. E.T.

Jeremy Maclin

The Eagles lost WR Jeremy Maclin to free-agency last offseason. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

This is the big day.

All teams must be under the 2016 salary cap, 2015 player contracts expire, and the 2016 league year and free agency period begins.


2. April 22nd


This is the deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets. For the Eagles, offensive lineman Matt Tobin is a restricted free-agent.


1. April 28th

Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The 2016 NFL Draft will take place in Chicago. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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The 2016 NFL Draft begins.