The Bengals have until Febuary 19 to franchise tag a player. Conventional thinking is that T.J. Houshmandzadeh will get the tag, which would be around $9.9 million; franchising Shayne Graham would cost $2.5 million. That said, here's a list of off-season dates to keep in mind.
February 15: NFL signing period for CFL players under contract ends
February 22: Deadline for NFL teams to designate franchise and transition players
February 18-24: NFL Scouting Combine
February 27: Free Agency begins
March 1: NFL teams must be under salary cap
March 3: NFL trading and veteran free agent signing periods begin
April 15: NFL restricted free agent signing period ends
April 25-26: NFL Draft, New York
June 1: Deadline for old clubs to send tender to unsigned unrestricted free agents to receive exclusive negotiating rights for rest of season if player is not signed by another club by July 22; Deadline for old clubs to send tender to unsigned restricted free agents or to extend qualifying offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights.
June 15: Deadline for old clubs to withdraw original qualifying offer to unsigned restricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting tender of 110 percent of previous year's salary.