The New England Patriots currently have 85 players on their active roster, but that number eventually will need to be brought down to 53 for the regular season. They now know when the cutdowns to get there have to happen.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the league released a memo on Thursday informing its clubs of this year’s roster reduction deadlines. Just like last year, there will be three waves of cuts:
- August 16: Cutdowns from 90 to 85 players
- August 23: Cutdowns from 85 to 80 players
- August 30: Cutdowns from 80 to 53 players
The NFL doing three rounds of cutdowns follows last year’s timetable, thus continuing a shift away from the one-cut system originally introduced in 2018.
The NFL already did multiple rounds of cutdowns until 2017 — rosters were first trimmed from 90 to 75 and later down to 53 — but reduced that number to one such event for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Back then rosters were reduced straight from 90 to 53 following he final preseason game.
With Covid-19 disrupting the entire rhythm of the NFL’s 2020 season, however, the league asked its teams to cut from 90 to 80 ahead of training camp due to Covid-19 concerns, and later from 80 to 53 ahead of the regular season opener. Last year, however, it went to three cutdowns happening on the Tuesday following each teams’ preseason games.
In the Patriots’ case, these are scheduled as follows this year, with roster sizes in parentheses:
- August 11, 7:00 p.m. ET: vs. New York Giants (90)
- August 19, 7:00 p.m. ET: vs. Carolina Panthers (85)
- August 26, 8:15 p.m. ET: at Las Vegas Raiders (80)
The Patriots kicked off their organized team activities earlier this week with just 85 players on their active roster. They could keep their team at that number through cutdown No. 1, but it seems more likely that they will add additional bodies for training camp.