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NFL alters 2021 roster cuts deadline schedule, dates

Roster cuts will now likely come on a Tuesday, rather than their typical Saturday drop.


The NFL decided on Wednesday that they will be changing the schedule of mandatory cutdown deadlines for the 2021 season, per multiple reports. Recently, the NFL changed its format to allow teams to carry their 90-man roster all the way until the 53-man deadline date, typically on the Saturday following the final preseason game. Although last year, COVID-19 restrictions mandated that team only carry 80 players into training camp.

This year the NFL will instead adopt a three-step cutdown process. Here’s how it’ll work.

August 17 — four days after the Detroit Lions’ first preseason game

NFL teams are required to cut down to 85 players.

August 24 — Three days after Preseason Game 2

NFL teams are required to cut down to 80 players.

August 31 — Four days after Preseason Game 3

NFL teams are required to cut down to 53 players

While this won’t seem like a huge change from the fan experience, there is one fairly noticeable change. That August 31 date comes on a Tuesday, giving teams a couple extra days to mull over their roster decisions after the final preseason game.

Additionally, because of the elimination of the fourth preseason game—creating an extra week between the preseason end and the start of the regular season—teams will have a couple extra days to adjust their 53-man roster before their opening game.

Of course, teams may decide to cut players prior to the deadlines, but for now, expect most of the cuts to come on a Tuesday, not a Saturday. The exact time of the deadlines were not announced, but in previous years, cuts were required to be made by 4 p.m. ET on the deadline date.

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