Roster cutdown, injury designations looming

What are the key upcoming dates in the NFL, starting with Saturday’s cutdown to 53-man rosters?

2015
Sept. 3: Final preseason games.

Sept. 5: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the active/inactive list.

Sept. 5: 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.

Sept. 6: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon ET.

Sept. 6: Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m. ET, clubs may establish a practice squad of 10 players. No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a practice player contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player’s prior NFL player contract has been terminated via the waiver system.

Sept. 6: After 4:00 p.m. ET, a club is permitted to place a player on reserve/injured as “Designated for Return.”

Sept. 10: At 12:00 a.m. ET, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL clubs.

Sept. 10, 13-14: Regular season opens.

Oct. 4: NFL International Series, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins, London, England

Oct. 6-7: Fall League Meeting, New York, New York.

Oct. 16: Beginning on the sixth calendar day prior to a club’s seventh regular season game (including any bye week) and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular season weekend, clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on reserve/physically unable to oerform and reserve/non-football injury or illness for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4:00 p.m. ET on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, provided that no player may be activated to participate in a Week 6 game.

Oct. 25: NFL International Series, Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, London, England

Nov. 1: NFL International Series, Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs, London, England

Nov. 3: All trading ends for 2015 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Nov. 4: Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.

Nov. 17: At 4:00 p.m. ET, signing period ends for franchise players who are eligible to receive offer sheets.

Nov. 17: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to sign their unsigned franchise and transition players, including franchise players who were eligible to receive offer sheets until this date. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2015.

Nov. 17: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to sign their unrestricted free agents to whom the “May 12 Tender” was made. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2015.

Nov. 17: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to sign their restricted free agents, including those to whom the “June 1 Tender” was made. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2015.

Nov. 17: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to sign their drafted rookies. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2015.

2016
Jan. 3: Seventeenth week of regular season games.

Jan. 4: Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts.

Jan. 4: Option exercise period begins for fifth-year option for first-round selections from the 2013 NFL Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after January 4, 2016, but prior to May 3, 2016.

Jan. 9-10: Wild Card playoffs.

Jan. 10: Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that have byes in the Wild Card weekend may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the Wild Card games.

Jan. 16-17: Divisional playoffs.

Jan. 17: Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that won their Wild Card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games.

Jan. 18: Deadline for college players that are underclassmen to apply for special eligibility. A list of players who are accepted into the NFL draft will be transmitted to clubs on January 22.

Jan. 23: East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Jan. 24: AFC and NFC Championship games.

Jan. 30: Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.

Jan. 31: NFL Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Jan. 31: An assistant coach whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job, may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.

Feb. 7: Super Bowl 50, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California.

Feb. 22: First day for clubs to designate franchise or transition Players.

Feb. 23-29: NFL Scouting Combine timing and testing, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.

March 7: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to designate franchise or transition players.

March 12-15: Beginning at 12 noon ET, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2015 player contracts at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 15. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 15.

March 15: The 2016 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m. ET.

March 15: The first day of the 2016 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m. ET on March 15. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m. ET and 11:59:59 p.m. ET on March 15.

March 15: Trading period for 2016 begins at 4:00 p.m. ET after expiration of all 2015 contracts.

March 20-23: Annual League Meeting, Boca Raton, Florida.

April 4: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2015 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.

April 18: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 22: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.

April 27: Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.

April 28-30: NFL Draft, Chicago, Ill.


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