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NFL roster cut deadlines 2021: Packers must adjust to a three-phased cut process

The NFL is going with a three-phased roster cut process this summer, which could complicate decisions for GMs.

NFL: Green Bay Packers-Rookie Minicamp Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA T

The Green Bay Packers, particularly under the stewardship of general manager Brian Gutekunst, have been known to pursue every avenue of player acquisition to improve their roster. Gutekunst famously said that he would “leave no stone unturned” to keep the team’s roster competitive, and he has generally lived up to that promise.

Whether through the waiver process, free agent acquisitions, or trades (most of which have involved sending players away for draft picks), Gutekunst has churned the bottom of the team’s roster regularly over his three-plus years in charge of the personnel department. In 2021, however, the NFL has adjusted its preseason roster cutdown deadlines a bit, requiring teams to be even more creative than in recent years as to how they assemble — and dissemble — their players.

With that in mind, here is a list of the critical roster-related dates that face the Packers during the summer of 2021 and into the regular season. One of the most notable is that the league has three separate cut-down dates: first from 90 to 85 players, then from 85 to 80, and finally down to the final 53. This system shows some similarities to the process that was in place through the 2016 preseason, when teams faced a two-phased cut by moving down to 75 men before the final preseason game. However, the early deadline to get to 75 was eliminated starting in 2017, and teams have had just a single cut date to go from 90 to 53 since.

Here are the most important roster-related dates for this summer and autumn:

Key 2021 Dates

Date Description Details
Date Description Details
7/20/2021 Training Camp Earliest date the Packers can require rookies to report for training camp
7/27/2021 Training Camp Packers report date for training camp
8/14/2021 Preseason Houston Texans vs. Green Bay Packers @ Lambeau Field
8/17/2021 Roster Cuts Teams must reduce rosters from 90 to 85 players by 4 PM ET
8/18 - 8/19/2021 Joint Practices Packers to hold joint practices with New York Jets
8/21/2021 Preseason New York Jets vs. Green Bay Packers @ Lambeau Field
8/24/2021 Roster Cuts Teams must reduce rosters from 85 to 80 players by 4 PM ET
8/28/2021 Preseason Green Bay Packers vs. Buffalo Bills @ Bills Stadium
8/31/2021 Roster Cuts Teams must reduce rosters from 80 to 53 players by 4 PM ET
9/1/2021 Transactions Waiver claims for players released at final cuts clear at 4 PM ET; practice squad signings may begin after 4 PM ET
9/1/2021 Transactions Players placed on injured reserve after 4 PM ET are eligible to return later in the season
9/5/2021 Training Camp Final day of training camp
9/12/2021 Regular Season Week 1: Packers @ Saints
9/28/2021 Transactions Waiver priority changes to the inverse of current season's standings
10/25/2021 Transactions Any Packers players placed on reserve/PUP or reserve/NFI may begin practicing with teams; these players must be activated to the roster within 21 days.
11/2/2021 Transactions Trade Deadline is at 4 PM ET
11/3/2021 Transactions All veteran players with at least 4 credited seasons are subject to waivers for the rest of the season.