For the Bears, the 2019 offseason is about sustaining momentum from their worst-to-first turnaround and building on their 12-4 record.
Here's a rundown of meaningful dates and deadlines that make up the offseason calendar for general manager Ryan Pace, coach Matt Nagy and the team.
Unlike 2018, the Bears don't face significant post-Super Bowl or new league year deadlines regarding the roster status of players due to earn bonus or guaranteed money.
The one that most stands out is the clause in backup quarterback Chase Daniel's contract that allows him to become a free agent by paying the Bears $5 million within 10 days of the Super Bowl. Daniel would have had an incentive to buy himself out of his 2019 contract if his 2018 season had included some type of Nick Foles-level breakout. Because it didn't, this deadline figures to come and go with no action.
The first day for teams to designate a franchise or transition player. A year after the Bears used the transition tag to protect their negotiating rights with cornerback Kyle Fuller, there's no obvious internal candidate.
However, keep an eye on the 49ers and kicker Robbie Gould. Last year, the franchise tender for kickers was $4.9 million. It will increase slightly this year but will remain a team-friendly price to retain a kicker as productive as Gould has been the last two seasons. If the Niners tag him -- and they don't have other obvious candidates -- the chances of Gould returning to the Bears would extinguish.
Feb. 26-March 4
The NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. Executives from all 32 teams will attend to evaluate college prospects and begin meeting with agents about free agency. The market for free agents begins to take shape during this week, although things didn't heat up last year until closer to the start of the new league year, about a week later. Nagy and Pace probably will address media Feb. 27.
3 p.m. deadline for teams to designate a franchise or transition player.
The so-called legal tampering window. From 11 a.m. March 11 until 2:59:59 p.m. March 13, teams are permitted to contact and negotiate with agents for players whose contracts expire at 3 p.m. March 13. A contract cannot be executed with a new team until 3 p.m. March 13, and a team cannot directly contact a player from another team.
The new league year begins at 3 p.m. Free agency and the trading period get underway. Pace's list of roster needs is shorter and more refined than it has been in recent years, and that should only fuel his characteristically aggressive approach to the open market.
Depending on how the league finalizes the salary cap in early March, the Bears are projected to have about $10 million in available cap space. However, cap space quickly and easily changes with new contracts and cuts.
NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. Nagy is expected to address media at the NFL coaches breakfast March 26. Chairman George McCaskey and Pace also have spoken to reporters at the meetings in recent years.
The Bears can begin their nine-week voluntary offseason strength and conditioning program. For the first two weeks, only strength and conditioning coaches are permitted on the field with players. No footballs are allowed, other than for quarterbacks throwing to uncovered receivers. Classroom sessions begin in earnest.
The NFL announces the 2019 schedule. In each of the last two years, the announcement was on the third Thursday in April. That would be April 18 this year. The average announcement date this decade has been April 19.
Deadline for restricted free agents to sign an offer sheet from another team. Bears RFAs of note are safety DeAndre Houston-Carson and tight end Ben Braunecker. For the Bears to protect their rights to an RFA, they would have to tender him a one-year contract or sign him to a multiyear extension. An RFA tender includes a one-year contract worth at least $2 million. The Bears have been comfortable not tendering RFAs and instead attempting to re-sign them at a lower price.
Matt Nagy's 41st birthday. The NFL coach of the year is the seventh-youngest head coach in the league and the third-youngest who isn't in his first season.
The first round of the NFL draft in Nashville, Tenn. The Bears traded their first-round selection in September to the Raiders as part of the package for All-Pro outside linebacker Khalil Mack.
The second and third rounds of the draft. The Bears traded their second-round pick to the Patriots during the 2018 draft for the opportunity to select receiver Anthony Miller. The Bears' highest selection is No. 88 (the 24th pick of the third round).
The third and final day of the draft. The Bears have picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds. They traded their sixth-rounder to the Raiders for Mack.
Deadline for the Bears to exercise the 2020 option on outside linebacker Leonard Floyd's contract, which Pace has said they will do.
Dates for the Bears' three-day rookie camp, which would include draft picks, college free agents and a host of tryout players. If they don't host the rookie camp on these dates, it would be the previous weekend.
The Bears' voluntary spring practices begin. They are allowed 10 organized team activities (OTAs) during the ensuing three weeks. In those sessions, players and coaches are allowed on the field for non-contact team drills. If past schedules are a good indication, these are expected to begin the week of May 20.
The Bears host their 100th season celebration at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
Dates for the Bears' mandatory minicamp.
3 p.m. deadline for a franchise- or transition-tagged player to sign a multiyear contract extension.
Approximate reporting date to training camp. The Bears customarily report to Bourbonnais on a Wednesday in late July (by rule, 15 days before their first exhibition game) but did so last year on a Thursday. Nagy's first season, however, included the rarity of participating in the Hall of Fame exhibition game. The last two summers, the Bears had rookies report a week before veterans.