Information on NFL Team Rosters in 2021


A group of football players

Last preseason was a difficult one for NFL front offices and coaching staffs. They had to decide the fate of 27 players without seeing them in live game action. The good news teams in 2021 is that they will each have at least three preseason contests during which they can evaluate their players. However, teams are once again carrying the traditional 90-man rosters after the league constricted training camp rosters to 80 during the pandemic. The extra sum of players will, naturally, make roster cuts a bit more difficult. After all, those 37 cuts comprise 41.1 percent of an NFL roster.

When are NFL roster cuts in 2021?

The NFL’s final roster cut deadline will occur at 4 p.m. ET on August 31. At that point, all NFL teams must have no more than 53 players on their active rosters. Currently, teams are allowed to carry up to 90 players.

That said, the NFL has added a couple of extra roster cut deadlines built into the preseason. The league had done away with having multiple sets of roster cuts ahead of the 2017 preseason, but they implemented a cut to 80 during ahead of 2020 training camp — which was largely due to COVID concerns. Evidently, the NFL liked that cut enough to keep it around, albeit in a different form.

This year, the league will have teams cut five players from their roster on two occasions before the final cut to 53. After Week 1 of the preseason, teams will have to trim their rosters down to 85. After Week 2, they’ll cut another five players to bring each team’s total down to 80.

A man wearing a football uniform

NFL roster cuts rules

The NFL’s deadline for final roster cuts is Aug. 31, but teams will inevitably make moves ahead of that deadline. In recent years, some teams have released their full list of cuts almost immediately after their third preseason game. Also, some NFL teams may not make their final 27 cuts all at once; they’ll come rolling in over a period of a couple of days.

Players that are on the PUP or NFI lists don’t count toward roster totals in the offseason or during the regular season. They just can’t practice or play while on those lists. If activated from those lists, teams will have to create a roster spot for them, which could mean releasing an extra player.

However, if a player remains on the PUP list, they are ineligible to return to action until after the team’s sixth game. Additionally, players placed on IR before the cut to 53 are ineligible to return during the season.

The players that are placed on waivers during final cuts will be eligible to be claimed by teams until 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 1. After that, teams can start to sign players and fill out their 16-man practice squads. Below is the full schedule for the NFL’s roster cut/construction period.

These are some latest updates you must know about your favorite NFL rosters.

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