When Are Final Roster Cuts For NFL Teams?

The NFL regular season is just around the corner, and that means teams are starting to make their final roster cuts. So when are final roster cuts for NFL teams?


In the National Football League (NFL), teams must reduce their rosters from a maximum of 90 players to a final roster of 53. This reduction is referred to as the “final roster cuts” or simply “cuts.”

The NFL’s regular season begins on the Sunday following Labor Day and runs for 17 weeks, ending on December 31. All teams play 16 games during the regular season. The playoffs begin in early January, and the Super Bowl, the championship game of the NFL, is usually held on the first Sunday in February.

The date of the final roster cuts varies from year to year, but it is generally made sometime between late August and early September, just before the start of the regular season.

Roster Sizes

At the start of the regular season, each NFL team is allowed to have a maximum of 53 players on their roster. However, teams are not required to have 53 players on their roster at all times during the season. They can carry fewer players if they choose.

Preseason Games

In order to make the final roster cuts, NFL teams must first play four preseason games. These exhibition contests give coaches and general managers a chance to evaluate the talent on their roster and determine who should stay and who should go.

The first round of cuts is typically made after the second preseason game. This is when teams are required to reduce their rosters from 90 players down to 75. The second round of cuts comes after the fourth and final preseason game, when rosters must be trimmed from 75 players down to 53.

However, it’s worth noting that teams can carry up to 10 players on their practice squad. Practice squad members do not count towards the 53-man roster limit.

Cuts Before the Start of the Regular Season

All NFL teams must reduce their rosters from 90 players to 53 by 4 p.m. ET on the Saturday prior to the start of the regular season. Teams can establish a practice squad of up to 10 players beginning the day after final cuts are made.

Practice Squad

An NFL practice squad is a developmental squad consisting of eight players that are signed by each NFL team. NFL teams are only allowed to sign players that were not on the active 53-man roster at the end of the previous NFL season to their practice squad. In order to sign a player to the practice squad, they must first clear waivers. Waivers are when a player is cut by an NFL team and is made available to be claimed by any other NFL team. If no team claims the player, they become a free agent and are able to sign with any team, including the team that originally cut them.

Players can be signed to the practice squad an unlimited number of times, but they can only stay on the practice squad for a maximum of three weeks in a row before being signed to another NFL team’s active roster or becoming a free agent.

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