Doomsday has arrived. For the many NFL hopefuls across the league, dreams will either be fulfilled or crushed within the coming days. NFL rosters will be cut down from 90 players to the league maximum of 53 by Saturday, August 31st at 3 PM. All of the hard work put in during training camp will either pay off or send them packing their bags. This can be the most difficult stage in a young athlete’s life.
However, if a roster cut is made, it does not mean a player does not still have a chance. Teams with a lack of depth at a position of need have the ability to add to their roster from the cuts made by other teams around the league. Because of this, some players will still be awarded jobs, while others will remain free agents.
Each team has the option to keep 10 players on their practice squad, as a way to keep players on hold in case of injury and crisis situations during the regular season. A team is also not limited to their own practice squad, as every player on hold for a team is up for grabs for any team in the NFL.
What does this mean for those who are on the roster bubble? Players must stay ready, even if they are released, as they never know when a team may be calling. The challenge with the preseason is being able to gel with teammates, while also keeping in mind that you are competing with those same teammates for a spot on the final roster. It is a relentless process, with very little margin for error. This is a concept that many athletes on NFL rosters will come to realize within the coming days.
Not only is preseason football a platform for first year players to make good impressions on their coaches, it is also a way for teams to showcase veteran players that they will attempt to trade before the season. Players that have been popular with the team, but are either too expensive to hold on to, or their physical skills are beginning to regress. Across the league, there are holes for each team to fill in their rosters that are not being satisfied by their current players. This is where the veterans on the trade block come in.
Saturday will either be the best day, or the worst day for those who are hoping to make a roster. Every team’s front office will be faced with several difficult decisions, as every player coming in has busted their tails to make the team. However, that is the harsh reality of the NFL, and only 53 players will go on to fulfill their dreams.