Despite a desire by plenty of players to keep the rosters at 90 until Labor Day weekend, the NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to reduce capacity to 80. The teams have two options for getting there.
According to a memo distributed on Friday to all teams (the memo, as best we can tell, was first reported by Brandon Krisztal of KOA in Denver), teams can either cut to 80 before July 28, or they can wait until August 16.
Teams that wait to reduce to 80 must utilize split-squad procedures, with one group mainly consisting of rookies, first-year players, and any quarterbacks or injured players assigned to that group. (Designations, once made, can’t be changed.) The second group will consist of all veteran players who report on July 28.
A team that chooses the split-squad approach can reduce to 80 at any time before August 16, and then merge into one unit.
So, basically, it’s up to the team whether to carry 90, with the understanding that having 90 on the roster will result in a split squad. By August 16 — the day before padded practices start — all teams will be down to 80.