Friday night's preseason game between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears is not only critical for the front-line players who will get the bulk of the snaps. It is critical for fringe players who may only get a handful of plays to prove they deserve to stick around. First cuts (from 90 to 75) are due Monday. With that in mind, here is a list of key dates released recently by the NFL. These are the dates that will be critical in building a 53-man roster and practice squad.
August 27 -- Rosters must be reduced from 90 to 75 players by 4 p.m. ET
August 31 -- Roster cut-down to maximum of 53 players on Active/Inactive List prior to 9 p.m. ET. Clubs may dress minimum of 43 and maximum of 46 players for each regular season and postseason game.
September 1 -- Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at noon ET.
September 1 -- Beginning at noon ET 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 participate on the Practice Squad for more than three seasons.