We're through training camp and the first three preseason games for teams, and that means that roster cuts are looming. Rosters are currently at 90-players, which is the offseason limit and allows more players to get chances, while also allowing starters to play limited snaps in the preseason.
The regular season roster limit is 53-players, however, and so obviously there will be many players cut in the coming days. Those cuts will happen this week, and we've got all of the information you need to get ready for them.
First round of cuts:
The first round of cuts are due by Tuesday, September 1, at 4:00 p.m. ET. This is the cutdown from 90-players to 75-players, meaning that teams need to waive 15 players. Many teams have already begun this process, and the Colts will be doing this very soon. In all honesty, this round of cuts is the easiest one, because these are generally players who were long shots in the first place and never really did enough to stick around. Also, this is the first time that a team can place someone on injured reserve without having to subject him to waivers, and so that might be one of the moves the Colts make, as they claimed cornerback Tevin Mitchel off of waivers from the Redskins but he is expected to miss the season. That could be an option as well, but for the most part this round of cuts includes those players who were a long shot to begin with. It's the second round of cuts that gets more difficult.
Second round of cuts:
The second and "final" round of cuts are due by Saturday, September 5, at 4:00 p.m. ET. This is after the fourth and final preseason games take place, which will be on Thursday night (with the Colts taking on the Cincinnati Bengals at home). This is the cutdown from 75-players to 53-players, meaning that 22 more guys will be gone after the fourth preseason game. This is where things can sometimes get difficult, as there might be more than 53 guys the team wants to keep around, or they might have to decide between two players that they really like. Especially during this second round of cuts, there will be some good players getting released.
That's why we call this the "final" round of cuts - because, in reality, we know that there will be more. I always feel the worst for those players who initially make the 53-man roster but then are cut a day later as the team claims another team's released player. But it happens every year, and it's the reality: teams will be looking at the other team's cuts and seeing if they want to claim a player.
Lastly, there's the ten player practice squad that teams will begin to fill shortly after the final cuts. These are players who haven't been in the NFL long (there are specific eligibility requirements) but who the team wants to keep around and continue working with while not having to carry them on the 53-man roster. From 4 p.m. on Saturday until noon on Sunday, teams will be looking at the waiver wire, and then once those players clear waivers, teams can begin signing players to their practice squads. In other words, after noon on Sunday, September 6, we can expect to see teams begin to fill out their practice squads.
It should be a big week as we conclude preseason and finally get ready for the regular season to begin, so keep checking back here at Stampede Blue for all the latest from the Colts cuts.