The Dallas Cowboys used most of March to improve their team with trades for Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks as well as re-signing key players.
With the NFL draft on the horizon, the league announced the offseason workout dates for the Cowboys on Friday afternoon. Those dates include the start of their offseason program, OTAs, and mandatory minicamp.
First Day: April 17
OTA Offseason Workouts: May 22-23, May 25, May 30, June 1-2, June 13-15
Mandatory Minicamp: June 6-8
Now that we have the team's hard dates let's quickly preview what these mean.
This is about as simple as it gets for those that need clarification on what the first day means.
On April 17, teams with returning head coaches, like the Cowboys, may begin their workout programs.
Franchises with new head coaches can start their offseason programs on April 10.
OTA offseason workouts
OTAs (Organized Team Activities) for the Cowboys are slated to occur May 22-23, May 25, May 30, June 1-2, and June 13-15.
Starting on May 22, as noted, voluntary OTAs for veterans and rookies will take place.
OTAs are 10-day off-season programs designed to help players improve through in-person meetings and classroom instruction. These are geared more toward younger players and rookies, but some veterans still show up.
Once the draft concludes, we will have a better idea of who may be participating in these as rookies.
As far as the vets go, I know Dak Prescott will show up. Hard to tell if others will attend or if they may still be out and about doing their own thing.
Again, all OTAs are entirely voluntary.
The Cowboys will hold their mandatory minicamp from June 6-8, which will be the final organized set of practices before training camp in late July.
The mandatory minicamp allows most players to dive fully into their preparation for the upcoming season.
At times we have seen players skip these, but unlike the earlier workouts, coaches can work with the players on the field. I can't think of any players that may skip this for the Cowboys, but if their absence isn't excused, they are subject to a fine.
For most teams, including the Cowboys, the media is allowed limited access to minicamp sessions, unlike the OTA workouts.
Minicamps are shorter, three-day workouts. Both OTAs and minicamps do not have live contact during the on-field workouts.
All the dates are subject to change, but right now, these are the ones to look out for on the calendar. All of this takes place before training camp in July when rookies report July 18-26 and veterans report between July 23-26.
The information above is just a basic rundown of what you can expect from each program. These work in three phases.
- Phase One only consists of meetings, strength and conditioning, and physical rehabilitation.
- Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual or group instruction and drills.
- Phase three allows teams to conduct 10 days of organized team practice activities without live contact.
Things are about to heat up; the next few months will be busy for the Cowboys.