The NFL has released the dates for each major event happening in conjunction with the league for the next nine months. Among the notable dates are August 30, the first roster cut of the year. On August 30th the Bengals must trim their 90-man offseason roster to 75 players. September 3 will be the second big roster cut, at which point the Bengals will need to make their 53-man roster official. Practice squads can be crafted starting September 4. November 1 is the trade deadline for the 2016 season. And, the Bengals will be crowned Super Bowl 51 champions on February 5, in Houston, Texas. Well, we don’t know if it will actually be the Bengals, but, for our purposes, let’s be hopefully and say it will be.
Here is the full listing of important NFL dates for the next nine months.
July 22: Signing Period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
July 22*: Signing period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 10 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
* or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.
August 4-7: Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio.
August 7: Hall of Fame Game, Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts, Canton, Ohio.
August 9: Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an accrued season for free agency.
August 9: If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2016, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2017 League Year.
August 11-14: First Preseason Weekend.
August 18-20: Second Preseason Weekend.
August 25-28: Third Preseason Weekend.
August 30: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 75 players on the Active List.
September 1: Final Preseason Games.
September 3: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
September 3: Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.
September 4: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time.
September 4: Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of 10 players. No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a Practice Player Contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player’s prior NFL player contract has been terminated via the waiver system.
September 5-9: In accordance with the 2016 Personnel (Injury) Report Policy, each club is required to file a Practice Report with its conference communications contact by 4:00 p.m., New York time, (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for a regular season Saturday or Sunday game; Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for a Thursday game; or Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for a Monday game.
Each club must also file a weekly regular season Game Status Report with its conference communications contact by 4:00 p.m., New York time (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) on Wednesday for a Thursday game, Friday for a Saturday or Sunday game, and Saturday for a Monday game. An update must be reported if there is any change in a player's condition after the initial Game Status Report is filed.
September 8: At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL clubs.
September 8, 11-12: Regular Season opens.
October 2: NFL International Series, Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, London, England
Mid-October: Beginning on the sixth calendar day prior to a club’s seventh regular season game (including any bye week) and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular season weekend, clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, provided that no player may be activated to participate in a Week 6 game.
Mid-October: At any time after six weeks have elapsed since a player was placed on Reserve/Injured or Reserve/Non-Football Injury/Illness, each club is permitted to designate one player for return from either list to the club’s 53-player Active/Inactive List.
The player who is “Designated For Return” must have suffered a major football-related or non-football-related injury after reporting to training camp and must have been placed on the applicable Reserve List after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the final roster reduction.
A player whom the club wishes to designate for return is permitted to return to practice for a period not to exceed 21 days. The club is required to notify the League office that the player has been “Designated For Return” on the first day the player begins to practice. The player cannot be returned to the Active/Inactive List until eight weeks have elapsed since the date he was placed on Reserve.
October 18-19: Fall League Meeting, Houston, Texas.
October 23: NFL International Series, New York Giants vs. Los Angeles Rams, London, England.
October 30: NFL International Series, Washington Redskins vs. Cincinnati Bengals, London, England.
November 1: All trading ends for 2016 at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
November 2: Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.
November 15: At 4:00 p.m., New York time, signing period ends for Franchise Players who are eligible to receive offer sheets.
November 15: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their unsigned Franchise and Transition Players, including Franchise Players who were eligible to receive offer sheets until this date. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2016.
November 15: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their Unrestricted Free Agents to whom the “May 10 Tender” was made. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2016.
November 15: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their Restricted Free Agents, including those to whom the “June 1 Tender” was made. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2016.
November 15: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their drafted rookies. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2016.
November 21: NFL International Series, Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders, Mexico City, Mexico.
January 1: Week 17.
January 2: Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts.
January 2: Option exercise period begins for Fifth-Year Option for First-Round Selections from the 2014 NFL Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after January 2, 2017, but prior to May 3, 2017.
January 7-8: Wild Card Playoffs.
January 8: Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that have byes in the Wild Card weekend may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the Wild Card games.
January 14-15: Divisional Playoffs.
January 15: Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that won their Wild Card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games.
January 16: Deadline for college players that are underclassmen to apply for special eligibility. A list of players who are accepted into the NFL Draft will be transmitted to clubs on January 20.
January 21: East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.
January 22: AFC and NFC Championship Games.
January 28: Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.
January 29: NFL Pro Bowl, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida.
January 29: An assistant coach, whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.
February 5: Super Bowl LI, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas.
February 15: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
February 28-March 6: Combine Timing and Testing, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
March 1: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 7-9: During the period beginning at 12 noon, New York time, on March 7th and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9th, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2016 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9.
During the above two-day negotiating period, no direct contact is permitted between a prospective unrestricted free agent and any employee or representative of a club, other than the player’s current club.
March 9: The 2017 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
The first day of the 2017 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the League office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9.
March 9: Trading period for 2017 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2016 contracts.
March 26-29: Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
April 3: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2016 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
April 17: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
April 21: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.
April 26: Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.
April 27-29: NFL Draft (location TBD).