The slowest period of the year for the NFL is found in the six week period from mid-June until late-July. Once the spring training programs come to an end, there is a summer break where the only news that typically grabs headlines for the NFL is negative. This is the time of the year where NFL front offices and fan bases hold their breath and hope that players stay safe and out of trouble.
Once the training camp arrives, however, things will go much faster. A relatively short camp will blend into preseason and then into the regular season slate of games. We will take a look with Colts.com’s Andrew Walker at the important dates that approaching between now and the end of October.
July 11: NFL Supplemental Draft where teams will have an opportunity to bid on players who became eligible to enter the NFL after the draft in April.
July 25: The Colts’ veterans report to training camp. Teams’ report dates can be no more than 15 days prior to their first preseason game, and this date is exactly 15 days from the Colts’ 2018 preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Aug. 9, at CenturyLink Field.
• Aug. 7: If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2018, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2019 League Year. Currently, linebacker Darius Leonard and guard Braden Smith are the only two Colts draft picks left unsigned.
• Sept. 1: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List. 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.
• Sept. 2: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00 noon, New York time. Also, upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of 10 players (clubs participating in the International Player Development Program) may sign one player to an International Practice Player Contract.)
• Mid-October: Beginning on the sixth calendar day prior to a club’s seventh regular season game (including any bye week) 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. 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 two players for return from either list to the club’s 53-player Active/Inactive List. A player who is “Designated For Return” must have suffered a major football-related injury or non-football-related injury or illness after reporting to training camp and must have be en 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.
• Oct. 30: All trading ends for 2018 at 4 p.m,, New York time.
The best news may be that once training camp starts, there is only a couple of weeks until preseason games begin. This will be the first opportunity for Colts fans to see the new team unleashed from a physicality and tackling perspective. While these games tend to be less entertaining, they mean a lot for the players trying to make an impression before cuts.
It should also be noted that the Colts will hold joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens on Friday, August 17 and Saturday, August 18.