With just over 50 days to go for the season-opener, the NFL has released the important dates for 2021. From training camp, to deadlines, to the Pre-season, here are the key dates before the season starts.
We’re finally on the home stretch of the most uneventful part of the NFL calendar. There’s just 10 days left (even less for Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay) until training camp starts, and soon things will be back in full swing.
There’s certainly a lot of excitement for the upcoming season, particularly about the prospects of stadiums being at full capacity again. After a year of mostly empty stadiums, it should be really refreshing to see.
On top of this, there will hopefully be less Covid-related disruptions. The NFL now has a year’s experience of running a season during the pandemic, and vaccination rates amongst NFL teams are slowly creeping up.
It will also be the first 17-game regular season, meaning that it will be the “biggest” NFL season in history.
So, without delaying it further, here are all the important dates for the 2021-22 season up till the season opener, per the official NFL Operations Page.
The 2021-2022 @NFL calendar is here 🔥
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) July 16, 2021
NFL Important Dates 2021-22 Season
- At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one- year contract with his prior club for the 2021 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.
- Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies (defined as a player who has never signed a player contract with an NFL club in a prior League Year) beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players. A club’s preseason training camp will be deemed to have officially opened on the designated reporting date for all rookies.
- Clubs may require first-year players (defined as a player who signed a player contract with any NFL club in a prior League Year, but who does not have a pension-credited season) to report on the designated reporting date for all rookies, or at any time thereafter, including, but not limited to, the designated reporting date for veteran quarterbacks and injured players, or the designated reporting date for all other veteran players.
- Veteran quarterbacks and “injured players” (as defined in CBA Article 21, Section 6) may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies.
- Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension- credited season) other than quarterbacks or injured players may report to a club’s preseason training camp 47 days prior to a club’s first regular season game if it falls on a Thursday or Sunday or 48 days prior to a club’s first regular season game if it falls on a Monday. For clubs whose first preseason is the Canton Hall of Fame Game, no veteran player other than quarterbacks and injured players will be required to report earlier than 14 days prior to such game.
- A five-day acclimation period will apply to players who report to preseason training camp or are on a club’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who report to camp, or join the club’s roster, or receive medical clearance to practice during the five-day acclimation period are required to complete as much of the acclimation period as remains. Players who report to camp, or join the club’s roster, or receive medical clearance to practice after the five-day acclimation period has ended may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.
- A player shall not receive an accrued season for any League Year in which the player is under contract to a club in which he failed to report to the club’s preseason training camp on that player’s mandatory reporting date.
- Beginning on the date that the first training camp opens for rookies (July 20, 2021) through the last business day prior to the Super Bowl (February 14, 2022), all tryouts and visits will be reported to clubs on the Personnel Notice.
- At 4:00 p.m., New York time, signing period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
- *At 4:00 p.m., New York time, signing period ends for unrestricted free agents to whom a “UFA Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
- * or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.
- The NFL will begin training camp in unison for the first time in league history.
- Hall of Fame Game, Dallas vs. Pittsburgh, Canton, Ohio.
- If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2021, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2022 League Year.
- First Preseason Weekend.
- Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 85 players on the Active/Inactive List.
- Second Preseason Weekend.
- Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 80 players on the Active/Inactive List.
- Third Preseason Weekend.
- 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 roster reduction to 53 players, 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; terminate or request waivers with the designation of Failed Physical or Non-Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.
- Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
- Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice, clubs may establish a Practice Squad, subject to the applicable limits negotiated for the 2021 season (clubs participating in the International Player Development Program may sign one additional international player to a Practice Player Contract.) No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a practice player contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player’s prior NFL player contract has been terminated via the waiver system.
- Beginning at 4:00 p.m., New York time, any player placed on Reserve/Injured or Reserve/Non- Football Injury or Illness during the regular season or postseason, may be designated for return later in the season, subject to the applicable procedures negotiated for the 2021 season.
- Final day of preseason training camp for all clubs, as defined in CBA Article 23, Section 10.
September 6-11 :
- In accordance with the Personnel (Injury) Report Policy, each club is required to file a Practice Report with the NFL Communications department by 4:00 p.m., New York time, (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for a regular season Sunday game; Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for a Thursday game; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for a Monday game; and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for a Saturday game.
- Each club must also file a weekly regular season Game Status Report with the NFL Communications department by 4:00 p.m., New York time (or as soon as possible after the completion of practice) on Wednesday for a Thursday game, Friday for a Sunday game, Saturday for a Monday game, and Thursday for a Saturday game. An update must be reported if there is any change in a player’s condition after the initial Game Status Report is filed. Regular Season Week 1.
September 9, 12-13:
- Regular Season Week 1.