The NFL announced its schedule for the upcoming year on Tuesday, locking in all the significant dates between now and the start of spring workouts in 2023.
However, there are a few significant deadlines that must be met before the start of the upcoming offseason.
The official cut-off dates for the upcoming pre-season and the 2022 trade deadline are both included. Here is a look at those seasonally important dates as well as a preview of the key occasions for next spring.
NFL Roster Cuts
The NFL is continuing to use a three-phased roster cut procedure that it first implemented in 2021. The league used a two-phase cutback system some years ago, reducing off-season rosters from 90 to 75 before reducing them further to 53.
When the NFL opted to switch to a single cut from 90 to 53 in 2018 and 2019, that issue was resolved. However, in 2020, the NFL returned to a two-step cut from 90 to 80 to 53.
The switch to a three-game preseason last year was timed with a new strategy. This year, there will be cuts after each preseason week, first from 90 to 85, then from 85 to 80, and lastly to the final 53-man roster.
The following dates represent such deadlines for 2022
- Tuesday, August 16: cut from 90 to 85
- Tuesday, August 23: cut from 85 to 80
- Tuesday, August 30: cut from 80 to 53
On the days specified, each of these deadlines occurs at 4:00 PM Eastern Time. The league will process waiver requests for players dismissed during final cuts the day after (Wednesday, August 31) at 12 noon Eastern Time. At that point, teams can start adding players to their practise squads.
In addition, players who are placed on injured reserve after August 31 are permitted to make a comeback throughout the season. To maintain a player’s eligibility to return on that date, teams must hold off until after 4:00 PM ET.
A significant change from previous years, when the cut deadline was traditionally on a Saturday, is the processing of final cuts on a Tuesday.
However, because all teams are off on the weekend, they have more than a full week to prepare for their week 1 games after finalising their initial rosters, as opposed to previous seasons when the teams competing in the first Thursday Night Football game had only a few days to do so.
What’s the NFL trade deadline?
November 1, 2022, has been established as the trade deadline date. The Packers meet the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night in week 8 of the 2022 season, which falls on this Tuesday.
NFL Dates to look out for in 2023
The majority of the recently disclosed crucial dates pertain to the 2023 offseason, while there are still certain roster-related requirements later in the 2022 season. The following dates are among them:
- February 21: The use of Franchise and Transition Tags by teams is permitted.
- February 28 – March 6: Indianapolis, Indiana, hosts the NFL Scouting Combine.
- March 7: the last day to utilise Franchise or Transition Tags
- March 13: At noon ET, the free agent bargaining (also known as “Legal Tampering”) period begins.
- March 15: All teams must be under the salary cap when the 2023 league year begins at 4:00 PM ET, unrestricted free agents can start signing contracts, and trade processing can start.
- April 17: The start of offseason training for teams with returning head coaches
- April 27 – 29: 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, Missouri
- May 1: Deadline for exercising fifth-year options on 2020 first-round draught picks
- May 5-8 or May 12-15: Dates for rookie minicamp
These deadlines outline a 2023 offseason calendar that is quite similar to 2022’s.
Players, teams, and media will all be pleased with the league’s decision to keep the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis for at least two more years.