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NFL calendar 2014: When are roster cuts, other important dates?

We look at the important dates between now and February's Super Bowl, including roster cuts, regular season kickoff, the trade deadline, and more.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

August 5

Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an accrued season for free agency.

August 7-9

First Preseason Weekend.

August 14-18

Second Preseason Weekend.

August 21-24

Third Preseason Weekend.

August 26 (First roster cuts)

Prior to 4:00 p.m. E.T., clubs must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 75 players on the active list.

August 28

Final Preseason Games.

August 30 (Final roster cuts)

Prior to 4:00 p.m. E.T., clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the active/inactive List.
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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.

August 31 (Waiver claims and practice squad)

Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at noon E.T.
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Beginning at 12:00 noon, New York time, clubs may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 46-player active list for less than nine regular season games during each of any accrued seasons. A player cannot serve on the practice squad for more than three seasons.

September 2 (Designated for Return IR)

After 4:00 p.m., New York time, a club is permitted to place a player on Reserve/Injured as "Designated for Return."

September 3 (Salary Cap change)

At 4:00 p.m. E.T., deadline for all NFL player contracts, practice player contracts, tender offers, and miscellaneous amounts to fit within each club's 2014 salary cap, in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule.

September 4, 7-8 (Regular Season Kickoff)

Regular Season opens. (Chargers first game is 9/8)

September 23

Beginning on the Tuesday following the third weekend of regular season games, the claiming priority is based on the inverse order of the standing of clubs in the current season's games.

October 14 (PUP return)

Beginning the day after the conclusion of the sixth regular season weekend and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the eleventh 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. (possibly interesting if Jeromey Clary doesn't return earlier as currently expected)

October 28 (Trade deadline)

All trading ends for 2014 at 4:00 p.m. E.T.

December 27 (Salary Cap roll-over)

Prior to 4:00 p.m. E.T., clubs must provide the Management Council with written notice, signed by the individual club's owner, indicating the amount, if any, of the club's 2014 league year salary cap room to be credited to the club's 2015 team salary.

December 29 (Futures contracts)

Clubs may begin signing free agent players for the 2015 season.

December 29 (2012 Rookies re-negotiation window; 5th year option)

Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2012 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. 
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Option exercise period begins for Fifth-Year Option for first-round selections from the 2012 NFL Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after December 29, 2014 but prior to May 3, 2015.

2015

January 3-4

Wild Card Playoff Games.

January 10-11

Divisional Playoff Games.

January 18

AFC and NFC Championship Games.

January 24 (Senior Bowl)

Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.

January 25 (Pro Bowl)

AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona.

February 1 (Super Bowl)

Super Bowl XLIX, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona.