The Denver Broncos claimed Super Bowl 50 last night with a 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers, and now their title defense begins as 31 teams try to dethrone them in 2016.
It’s a long journey to Super Bowl LI in Houston, but it has to start somewhere.
Leading up to the franchise’s 92nd season and first with Ben McAdoo as its head coach, here’s what is on deck for the Giants in the coming weeks and months during an important offseason:
NFL SCOUTING COMBINE (FEB. 23-29)
Held annually at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the NFL Scouting Combine invites hundreds of the best college football players for an intense job interview with general managers, coaches and scouts from all 32 teams. The next crop of talent will be evaluated on everything from the 40-yard dash to the Wonderlic Test. Here is a rundown of the week:
Wednesday, Feb. 24: Media interviews for running backs, offensive linemen and special teamers.
Thursday, Feb. 25: Media interviews for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends.
Friday, Feb. 26: Media interviews for defensive linemen and linebackers, on-field workouts for running backs, offensive linemen and special teamers.
Saturday, Feb. 27: Media interviews for defensive backs, on-field workouts for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends.
Sunday, Feb. 28: On-field workouts for defensive linemen and linebackers.
Monday, Feb. 29: On-field workouts for defensive backs.
BEGINNING OF FREE AGENCY (MARCH 9)
The new league year doesn’t technically begin until 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 9. That’s when the free agency period opens and teams can start to sign players. According to NFL.com, the top 10 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents are OLB Von Miller (Broncos), CB Josh Norman (Panthers), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (Jets), WR Alshon Jeffery (Bears), OT Cordy Glenn (Bills), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants), S Eric Berry (Chiefs), DT Malik Jackson (Broncos), DE Olivier Vernon (Dolphins) and RB Doug Martin (Buccaneers).
Here are other important dates regarding personnel moves:
February 8: Waiver system begins for 2016.
February 16: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 1: Deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 7-9: Clubs are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2015 contracts on March 9. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. ET on March 9. Prior to then, clubs must be under the 2016 salary cap and exercise options on all players who have such clauses in their 2015 contracts. The trading period for 2016 also begins at 4 p.m. ET on March 9.
April 22: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.
2016 NFL DRAFT (APRIL 28-30)
With the conclusion of last night’s Super Bowl, the final two teams were locked into the draft order, and the first round was set. The Giants own the 10th pick, while the Titans hold the No. 1 selection overall and the defending champion Broncos round out the first day. There are only 31 picks in the first round this year because the Patriots had to forfeit, among other things, their first-round selection as part of the NFL’s punishment for the use of under-inflated footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game.
In recent mock drafts, ESPN guru Mel Kiper Jr. penciled in UCLA linebacker Myles Jack for the Giants, while his colleague Todd McShay had Louisville defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins at No. 10. After the final selection in the draft has been made, clubs may begin signing Undrafted Free Agents who were eligible for the 2016 Draft.
OFFSEASON WORKOUT PROGRAM (APRIL 4)
The complete schedule has yet to be finalized, but under league rules, clubs that have hired a new head coach: like the Giants did after Tom Coughlin stepped down: may begin offseason workout programs as early as April 4. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each club's official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:
Phase 1: Consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
Phase 2: Consists of the next three weeks of the program when on-field workouts may be conducted on a "separates" basis with no live contact.
Phase 3: Consists of the next four weeks of the program when teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activities (OTAs). No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
Information on minicamps, organized team activities (OTAs) and training camp will be announced in the coming weeks.