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2012 NFL Cut-Down Dates And Roster Size – Clarifying Misconceptions

by Dennis Agapito on August 21, 2012

There has been lots of confusion regarding the roster cut dates and number of active players allowed.  The following is in conjunction with a recent JetNation article which laid out the roster changes, dates and numbers for the 2012 season.

Before the new CBA, NFL bylaws called for a year round roster size of 80 maximum which was trimmed to 65 the Tuesday after the third preseason games.  Final cuts went to 53 active/inactive the Saturday after the last preseason games.

The new CBA allowed teams to have a 90-man roster during the preseason but it was meant to be for the 2011 season only:

(g) 90-man Rosters. The NFL has determined in its sole discretion that for the 2011 League Year, offseason rosters shall be expanded to a ninety-man limit beginning July 26, 2011.

The NFL decided to have teams go from 90-to-80 instead of 75, because of the lockout, after first cuts during the 2011 season.  This is why many people/media think the roster will go to 80 after first cuts this season.

The NFL changed the year-round roster to 90 permanently in April 2012 and first cuts must be 15 players like before the new CBA, so the active roster becomes 75.  The cut-down dates are one day earlier than normal this year since the first regular season game is on Wednesday instead of the usual Thursday.

Here are the cut-down dates and roster numbers for the 2012 season:

  • Monday, August 27th by 4pm (EST) – Active Roster – (75).
  • Friday, August 31st by 9pm (EST) – Active/Inactive Roster – (53).


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