Ever head coach of an NFL team has some tough decisions to make over the next week, and many of them will revolve around Thursday night’s preseason finales. A coach has to carefully balance which of his starters play, how long they play, and which players on the roster bubble get the most playing time in order to showcase why they deserve to be on the final 53-man roster, or even latch on with a spot on the practice squad.
The NFL’s roster cutdown process is one of the most nerve-racking times for players on a roster bubble, as they can end the dreams for fringe rookies hoping to breakthrough into the greatest football league in the world, and can also signal the end of careers for some veterans.
Below is a timeline of key NFL events that will occur over the next week:
Aug. 31, 6 p.m. ET: Teams reduce rosters to max of 53
Sept. 1, noon ET: Claiming period for players placed on waivers during final roster reduction expires
Sept. 1, noon ET: Teams can begin establishing an 8-player practice squad
Sept. 4, 4 p.m. ET: Deadline for teams to comply with change in salary cap accounting rules
Once that last date has come, the rosters are set and we know wat least who will be playing where for the regular-season opener.