Last night, the final round of NFL Preseason games was completed, with all 32 teams playing with Week 4 contests. Franchises will now begin their preparation for the first week of the regular season, starting with the mandatory reduction of rosters from 75 players down to the league's 53-man regular season limit. Those cuts will be followed by practice squad signings, the option to use the "designated to return" injured reserve, and the salary cap changing from "Top 51" to all players. Here are when all those things happen:
August 30 (Final roster cuts; Reserve/PUP)
Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the active/inactive list.
Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non- Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the active list.
August 31 (Waiver claims and practice squad)
Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time.
Beginning at 12:00 noon, New York time, clubs may establish a practice squad of
eight ten players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 46-player active list for less than nine regular season games during each of any accrued seasons. A player cannot serve on the practice squad for more than three seasons.
September 2 (Designated for Return IR)
After 4:00 p.m., New York time, a club is permitted to place a player on Reserve/Injured as "Designated for Return."
September 3 (Salary Cap change)
At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for all NFL player contracts, practice player contracts, tender offers, and miscellaneous amounts to fit within each club's 2014 salary cap, in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule.