NFL considers pushing back combine, free agency, draft in future years

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says Sunday night's power outage won't prevent the NFL from bringing the Super Bowl back to New Orleans.  (Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press)

Commissioner Roger Goodell, other NFL leaders could be making changes to the sport’s calendar of annual events (Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press)

INDIANAPOLIS—The NFL is giving consideration to pushing back the scouting combine, free agency and the draft by several weeks each in future years, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday.

Such changes would need the approval of both the sport’s franchise owners and the players’ union, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the league’s plan remains in the formative stages.

It was not immediately clear whether the prospective changes have the support of the owners or the union.

The NFL’s consideration of such changes to its calendar was first reported Thursday night by ESPN.

Under the plan, the NFL scouting combine would take place in early March instead of late February. Free agency would begin in early April; this year the free agent market is scheduled to open March 12. The NFL draft would be held in early May instead of late April.

The changes could serve to keep the NFL, already the nation’s most popular and prosperous professional sports league, in the public spotlight for a larger portion of the year. Other parts of the sport’s calendar apparently would be mostly unaffected.

 

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