NFL roster cut deadlines and rules

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Teams have to start making cuts after this week's preseason games.

Somebody had to do it. Somebody had to dig and find out exactly what the rules are for trimming roster almost in half from the 90 each team is allowed in camp to 53 players by the time Week 1 roles around.

Well, it turns out I'm going to take on the challenge. Coming into training camp, each team is allowed to stock its roster with 90 players. Anybody on the physically unable to perform list or injured reserve doesn't count toward that number. However, once they return, someone must be cut to make room.

On Aug. 27 by 4 p.m. ET, teams must trim rosters to 75 players. Usually these cuts are without much intrigue, as it's mostly guys who were signed as camp fodder to begin with. These releases happen two days before the final preseason games for each team, on Aug. 29.

Two days after that, on Aug. 31 by 6 p.m. ET, teams make the truly tough decisions, and cut the roster down to the final 53 players. Many times, some big names and surprises come out of this day with new regimes cutting bait with established players who don't fit their schemes and expensive contracts not worth it anymore in certain spots.

Also on Aug. 31, teams must designate if a player is going to begin the season on the PUP list, putting them out for the first six weeks of the regular season. However, as in the preseason, these players don't count against the 53.

The next day, Sept. 1, teams can establish their eight-man practice squad.

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