What is the NFL’s 2021 roster cut? Deadline date, rules, Practice squad salaries & much more


What is the NFL's 2021 roster cut? Deadline date, rules,
Practice squad salaries & much more

The last preseason proved to be a challenging one for the NFL’s front office and its coaching staffs. Without seeing the 27 remaining players in action, they had to make a decision.

In 2021, the good news for teams is that each team will have three or more preseason contests in which to evaluate their players. After the league reduced training camp rosters from 90 to 80, the teams will once more have the standard 90-man rosters. The additional players, however, will make it more challenging to reduce rosters. Those 37 cuts make up 41.1 percent on an NFL roster.

The NFL has added a few smaller deadlines to help teams before the Aug. 31 cut to 53 players. The Aug. 31 cut deadline is nine days prior to the start of the season, giving players ample time to get roles on other active rosters or practice squads.

There will also be many opportunities for players who want to join the practice squad. In 2020, the NFL will keep its extended practice squad rules in force. This will enable more players to get jobs and allow for more depth to be offered to NFL teams.

In 2021, the NFL will have 53 roster slots and 16 practice squad positions. As Week 1 approaches, it is clear that the revised rules will impact roster cuts as well as roster-building strategies. Here are details on the deadline to reduce the NFL roster and rules regarding practice squad construction.

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What is the NFL’s 2021 roster cut?

53-man roster deadline

  • DatumTuesday, August 31
  • Time4.30 p.m. ET

At 4 PM, the NFL will hold its final roster-cut deadline. ET, August 31. All NFL teams can have no more 53 active players. Teams can currently have up to 90 players.

The NFL added some roster-cut deadline extensions to the 2017 preseason. Although the league eliminated multiple roster reductions prior to 2017, they did implement a decrease of 80 players during training camp 2020, largely because of COVID concerns. The NFL apparently liked the cut well enough to maintain it, though in a slightly different format.

The league will allow teams to cut five of their players on at least two occasions this year before the final round, which is set for 53. Teams will need to reduce their rosters to 85 after Week 1. Each team will have to cut five more players after Week 2.

These are the deadlines.

85-man roster deadline

  • DatumTuesday, August 17, 2009
  • Time4.30 p.m. ET

80-man roster deadline

  • DatumTuesday, August 24, 2009
  • Time4.30 p.m. ET

There will be approximately 160 players who are released at each of the pre-final cut deadlines. There will be 864 NFL players who are eliminated from the active roster following the final cutdown.

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NFL roster changes rules

Although the NFL has an August 31 deadline to make final roster cuts, teams may move ahead. Some teams release their complete list almost instantly after the third preseason match. Some NFL teams won’t release their final 27 cuts in one go. They will be coming in over several days.

Below is the NFL’s official language regarding the Aug. 31 roster cuts deadline:

Clubs must trim their rosters prior to 4 p.m. New York Time to 53 players on Active/Inactive lists. You can read more about it here. The roster will be reduced to 53. Clubs that have active/physically unable to perform or active/non-football injury or illness must choose one of these options. They can either place the player on Reserve/Physically Impaired to Perform, or reserve/non-football injury or illness; ask waivers or terminate the contract with the Failed Physical, or non-football injury or illness; request waivers or trade the contract or terminate the contract.

The roster counts for players who are on the NFI or PUP lists during the regular and offseasons don’t include them. These players can’t play or practice while they are on the NFI and PUP lists. Teams will need to make a spot on their roster if they are activated by those lists. This could involve releasing an additional player.

A player who remains on the PUP List is ineligible for return to play until the sixth game of the team. Players who were placed on IR prior to the 53-cut are not eligible to return to action during the season.

Teams will have until 4 pm to claim players who were placed on waivers in the final cuts. ET on September 1. The teams then have the option to start signing players or filling out 16-man practice squads. Here is the complete schedule for NFL’s roster construction period.

Datum Event
August 17 Deadline for cutting training camp rosters down to 85 players
August 24 Deadline for cutting training camp rosters down to 80 players
August 31 Deadline for cutting training camp rosters down to 53 players
September 1 The post-cut waiver period closes at 4 pm. ET
September 1 After waiver claims have been processed, teams can sign practice squad members

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NFL practice squad rules

In the initial plan, the NFL set out to increase its practice squad size starting in 2020. The original plan was to increase the number of practice squad members to 12, in 2020, and to 14, in 2022.

The COVID pandemic, however, forced them to rethink their plans and the practice squad was increased to 16. Six of those 16 could have been veterans who had accumulated a large number pro season hours. In case of COVID, this was done to give teams more flexibility in their rosters and greater depth.

The NFL decided to retain the practice squad rules for 2020. The practice squad rules will remain unchanged with 16 players permitted. These players are eligible to join the teams.

  • Rookies are players who have not had an NFL season.
  • A player who was on the active roster for less than nine regular season games in their last accrued year(s)
  • Maximum four members per team with no more than 2 seasons of accrued season (no games limitations).
  • There are no restrictions on the number of seasons earned by a team.

To create a full 55-man roster, teams can also promote up to two members of their practice squad. Call-ups may be made up to 90 minutes prior to the start of the game, after which the inactives list will be posted. The player is able to return to practice with the squad after the game.

A contract cannot be signed by practice squad members with another team. They must be promoted to the 53-man roster of their team if they sign with another practice squad.

With one exception, practice squad players can sign up with any team’s 53 man roster. Teams are permitted to keep four of their players protected per week. Players who are protected cannot be signed elsewhere.

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NFL practice squad salaries

To determine the salary of practice squad players, there are two different scales in place by the NFL. One is for those with two seasons or less — which makes up the majority of NFL practice squads — while one is for NFL veterans who have been on practice squads.

This first group is made up mainly of rookies and players. They are compensated a weekly fixed salary. The current CBA of the NFL provides a fixed weekly salary that will rise on an annual basis. After making an average of $8,400 per week in 2020, the team will make $9,200 this year.

The following are the remaining values applicable to players who have accumulated two seasons or less.

Jahr Weekly salary
2021 $9,200
2022 $11,500
2023 $12,000
2024 $12,500
2025 $13,000
2026 $13,750
2027 $14,500
2028 $15,250
2029 $16,000
2030 $16,750

This second group includes NFL veterans. They have unlimited earned seasons. This is why long-term NFL players may be seen on these units such as Trevor Siemian and Donte Moncrief in 2020. In 2021, teams can keep six of these athletes on their roster.

These players currently receive a weekly fixed salary. Their salaries will be adjustable to allow them to bargain with other teams starting in 2022. This could increase competition for veterans joining the practice squad.

These values are based on the NFL’s current CBA and can be seen here through 2030.

Jahr Minimum weekly salary Maximum weekly salary
2021 $14,000 $14,000
2022 $15,400 $19,900
2023 $16,100 $20,600
2024 $16,800 $21,300
2025 $17,500 $22,000
2026 $18,350 $22,850
2027 $19,200 $23,700
2028 $20,050 $24,550
2029 $20,900 $25,400
2030 $21,750 $26,250

For practice squad players, there are no guarantees of salaries or bonuses. A prorated portion of the annual minimum salary will be paid to a player who is promoted to active roster. This percentage corresponds with the player’s number of seasons. This was 1/17% of the minimum in 2020. This cut may decrease to 1/18 as the NFL moves to an 18-week season.

Publited Fri, 13 August 2021 at 11:39.08 +0000


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