Starting today, the Bengals will make cuts to get their roster down to the 75 man limit. It's one of the saddest times of the NFL year as players' dreams are put on pause, at least until they get their next opportunity. The next seven days will feature highs and lows as the team gets down to the 53-man limit by Saturday and then adds 10 players back via the practice squad on Sunday. Here's a look at what to expect during the next week of roster cuts.
- Teams must be under the 75-man roster limit by 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 30.
- Teams will be required to be at (or under) the 53-man roster limit by 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 3.
- Teams can sign/announce their 10 player practice squad starting at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 4.
HOW MANY PLAYERS MUST BE RELEASED
The Bengals currently have 90 players on their roster (as of this posting). They will need to waive/release 15 players prior to Tuesday's deadline. After Tuesday, they could also designate players for the Injured Reserve list, which would remove them from the roster count. Andrew Billings and William Jackson III are both likely to go on IR. Brandon Thompson is likely headed for the PUP list and that designation could come by Tuesday, too.
The big deadline is September 3, when 22 additional players will be cut or waived from the roster.
During roster cuts, there are two different designations: players who are waived and those who are released. The word cut is synonymous with both.
Waived: Players that have less than four years of experience are "waived". These players need to clear the NFL waiver wire before becoming a free agent. When a team places a player on waivers, the other 31 teams have one day to place a claim on that player. The team with the highest spot in the waiver order that places a claim is then awarded that player. If no team makes a claim, that player becomes a free agent and can sign with any team. For example, any practice squad eligible player would be waived, not released.
Released: Players with more than four years of NFL experience are considered vested veterans and do not need to go on the waiver wire after being released. As soon as a team releases a player, he is free to sign with any other NFL team. For example, Devon Still was released when the Bengals cut him last year.
THE PRACTICE SQUAD SCHEDULE
Players waived during final cuts can be claimed by any team until 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 4. Teams are allowed to establish their practice squads at or after 1:00 p.m. It's likely many if not all of the guys who the Bengals sign to their practice squad will be players who they cut on Saturday, September 3.
TIMELINE UP TO REGULAR-SEASON KICKOFF
Tuesday, August 30, 4:00 p.m.: NFL rosters must be down from 90 to 75 players.
Thursday, September 1, 7:30 p.m.: Preseason finale vs Colts.
Saturday, September 3, 4:00 p.m.: NFL rosters must be down from 75 to 53 players.
Sunday, September 4, 1:00 p.m.: Practice squads can be announced.
Sunday, September 11, 1:00 p.m.: Bengals regular season opener at New York Jets.