TAMPA, Fla. — With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in training camp preparing to defend the Super Bowl championship they won in February, there are key dates to watch as training camp and the preseason play out over the next month.
The NFL allows teams to open training camp with rosters of 90 players. But, those rosters have to be trimmed at specific times during camp. The first date to watch will be August 17 when all teams must reduce the roster to 85 players. A week later, all teams must reduce their roster to 80 players.
The big cuts will happen on August 31 when all teams must reduce the roster size to just 53 players for the regular season. However, some players who get cut will come back to the team on the practice squad or may join the team later in the season as well.
By having the final cut day on August 31, the NFL will give teams almost 10 days to peruse the waiver wire to see if any of the players who were cut would be worth bringing in to join a new team.
The Bucs are in an interesting position heading into camp with very few positions up for grabs. The entire starting 22 from the Super Bowl is back in Tampa, meaning most of the position battles will be for backups and special teams players. Still, don't count any player out as someone could dazzle in camp and earn a starting spot at any time.