NFL Roster Limits
Year Lge Active Inactive Practice Squad Contract Cutdown Dates Trade Deadline Free Agency Injured Reserve Notes
1920 APFA -
1921 APFA 18 -
1922 NFL 18 -
1923 NFL 16 - 8/1/1924
1924 NFL 18 - Limit increased on 7/26/1924
1925 NFL 16 -
1926 NFL 18 - Limit increased on 2/7/1926
1927 NFL 18 -
1928 NFL 18 -
1929 NFL 18 -
1930 NFL 20 - Limit increased on 1/25/1930
1931 NFL 22 - 8/1/1932 Limited increased on 7/12/1932
1932 NFL 20 - 8/1/1933 Limit decreased on 7/10/1932
1933 NFL 25/22* - 8/1/1934 25 games 1-2; 22 games 3+
1934 NFL 25/22* - 25 games 1-2; 22 games 3+
1935 NFL 24 - Limit increased on 9/4/1935
1936 NFL 25 - 8/1/1937 Limit increased on 2/9/1936
1937 NFL 25 -
1938 NFL 30 - Limit increased on 2/19/1938
1939 NFL 30 - 8/1/1940
1940 NFL 33 - 8/1/1941 Limit inreased on 4/12/1940
1941 NFL 33 - 8/1/1942
1942 NFL 33 - 8/1/1943
1943 NFL 28 - Limit decreased for one year on 8/25/1943; free substitution adopted on 4/7/1943
1944 NFL 28 - 8/1/1945 Limit retained for one year on 4/20/1944
1945 NFL 33 - 8/1/1945 Limit increased on 9/15/1945
1946 AAFC 33 - 8/1/1947
1946 NFL 33 - Free substitution ended on 1/11/46
1947 AAFC -
1947 NFL 35/34* - 5/1/1948 *35=games 1-3; 34=games 4-12
1948 AAFC 35 - 8/1/1948
1948 NFL 35 - 5/1/1949 Limit increased on 1/??/1948
1949 AAFC 32 - 6/1/1950
1949 NFL 32 - 6/1/1950 Limit decreased on 1/20/1949
1950 NFL 32/33* - 5/1/1951 Season Limit retained & free substitution adopted on 1/23/1950; *limit increased on 9/18/1950
1951 NFL 33 - Limit retained on 1/18/1951; no pre-opening game cutdowns.
1952 NFL 33 - 5/1/1953 No pre-opening game cutdowns.
1953 NFL 33 - 5/1/1954 No pre-opening game cutdowns.
1954 NFL 33 - 5/1/1955 No pre-opening game cutdowns.
1955 NFL 35/33* - *35=games 1-2; 33=games 3-12 5/1/1956 No pre-opening game cutdowns.
1956 NFL 35/33* - *35=games 1-2; 33=games 3-12 5/1/1957 No pre-opening game cutdowns.
1957 NFL 35 - 60 9/16=38; 9/25=35 5/1/1958 Season Contract limit adopted on 2/2/1957.
1958 NFL 35 - 9/2=43; 9/15=38; 9/22=35 5/1/1959
1959 NFL 36 - 9/8=43; 9/15=38; 9/21=36 5/1/1960 Limit increased on 9/17/1959.
1960 AFL 35 - preseason=50; 8/23=43; 8/31=38; 9/6=35 5/1/1961 Limit increased from orginial limit of 33 on 8/25/1960..
1960 NFL 38 - 9/6=43; 9/13=40; 9/25=38 5/1/1961 Limit increased from 36 on 9/8/1960
1961 AFL 33 - 9/5=33 5/1/1962 Injured deferred list (30 days) Limit decreased to 33 on 1/13/1961.
1961 NFL 36 - 8/29=43; 9/5=38; 9/12=36 5/1/1962
1962 AFL 33 - 8/28=38; 9/4=33 5/1/1963 Injured deferred list (must clear waivers?) Limit increased to 36 on 1/9/1962; reduced to 33 on 6/27/1962
1962 NFL 36 - 8/28=43; 9/4=38; 9/11=36 5/1/1963 No injured reserve?
1963 AFL 33 - 8/27=38 5/1/1964 3 injured deferred list (16 days)
1963 NFL 37 - 8/27=43; 9/3=38; 9/10=37 5/1/1964 4 games Limit increased on 5/22/1963
1964 AFL 34 - 9/1=38; 9/8=34 5/1/1965 2 injured deferred list Limited increased and injured deferred reduced on 1/19/1964
1964 NFL 40 - 9/1=43; 9/8=40 5/1/1965 Limit increased on 1/25/1964
1965 AFL 38 - 8/24=46; 8/31=43; 9/7=38 5/1/1966 2 injured deferred list
1965 NFL 40 - 8/24=49?; 8/31=47; 9/7=43; 9/14=40 5/1/1966
1966 AFL 40 - 8/16=48; 8/23=42; 8/30=40 5/1/1967
1966 NFL 40* - 8/23=49 (ATL no cutdown); 8/30=43 (ATL no cutdown); 9/6=40 5/1/1967 *ATL active=46 weeks 1-2; 42 weeks 3-14, but dress only 40 entire season
1967 AFL 40 - 8/28?=? 9/4?=?; 9/11=40 5/1/1968
1967 NFL 40 - 8/28=49; 9/4=43 (NO no cutdown);9/11=40 (NO=46); 9/25=42 (NO) 5/1/1968 No recall on last 5 players; NO cutdown is 9/11=46 & after game 2=42, but only 40 can dress
1968 AFL 40 - 8/19=49; 8/26=43; 9/2=40 5/1/1969
1968 NFL 40 13 - 8/8?=60; 8/26=49; 9/2=43; 9/9=40 5/1/1969 Activated after clearing waivers No recall on last 5 players; 6 inactive moves; three reserve lists=military, retirement & injured
1969 AFL 40 7 - 7/31=60; 8/25=49; 9/1=44; 9/8=40 5/1/1970
1969 NFL 40 7 - preseason?=60; 9/1=49; 9/8=44; 9/15=40 5/1/1970 10 inactive list move an two-game minimum.
1970 NFL 40 7 - preseason?=60; 8/31=49; 9/7=44; 9/14=40 5/1/1971 10 inactive list moves and five-game minimum. Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform started.
1971 NFL 40 7 - 8/5=60; 8/30=49; 9/6=44; 9/13=40 5/1/1972 12 inactive list moves and seven-game minimum.
1972 NFL 40 7 - 8/8=60; 8/28=49; 9/4=44; 9/11=40 5/1/1973 12 inactive list moves. Reserve/Non-Football Injury started.
1973 NFL 40 7 - 8/7=60 8/27=49; 9/3=44; 9/10=40; inactive list=9/13 10/23 5/1/1974 No inactive move list.
1974 NFL 47 - - 9/10=47 5/1/1975 Limit adopted on 9/3/1974
1975 NFL 43 - - 8/12=60; 8/26=55; 9/9=49; 9/15=43 5/1/1976 Season Limit reduced on 6/27/1975. 3 player IR limit?
1976 NFL 43* 0 - 8/10=60; 8/24=49 (SEA/TB=60); 9/6=43* 3/1/1977 Limit adopted on 9/1/1976. *SEA/TB=49 weeks 1-2; 45 weeks 3-14
1977 NFL 43 2 - unlimited 8/9=60; 8/30=52; 9/6=48; 9/12=43; inactive list=9/15 10/25 2/1/1978 Season New CBA=3/1/1977; end of Rozelle Rule
1978 NFL 45 - - unlimited 8/15=60; 8/22=50; 8/28=43 10/10 2/1/1979 Season 3 players added to active rosrter after 8/28 cutdown
1979 NFL 45 - - unlimited 8/14=60; 8/21=50; 8/27=45 10/9 2/1/1980 4 games 3 IR activations (none for IR players before 8/27)
1980 NFL 45 - - unlimited 8/19=60; 8/26=50; 9/1=45 10/14 2/1/1981 4 games 3 IR activations (none for IR players before 9/1).
1981 NFL 45 - - unlimited 8/18=60; 8/25=50; 8/31=45 10/13 2/1/1982 4 games 3 IR activations (none for IR players before 8/31).
1982 NFL 45/49* 4/0* - unlimited 8/24=60; 8/31=50; 9/6=45 10/19 2/1/1983 4 games *45 active/4 inactive games 1-2; 49 active/0 inactive games 3-9. 3 IR activations (none for IR players before 9/6)
1983 NFL 45 - - unlimited 8/16=60; 8/23=50; 8/29=45 10/11 2/1/1984 4 games 3 IR activations (none for IR players before 8/29)
1984 NFL 49 - - unlimited 8/14=70; 8/21=60; 8/27=49 10/9 2/1/1985 4 games 5 IR activations (none for IR players before 8/27)
1985 NFL 45 - - unlimited 8/20=60; 8/27=50; 9/2=45 10/15 2/1/1986 4 games 5 IR actIvations (1 for IR players before 9/2)
1986 NFL 45 - - unlimited 8/19=60; 8/26=50; 9/1=45 10/14 2/1/1987 4 games 5 IR activations (1 for IR players before 9/1)
1987 NFL 45 10/5* - unlimited 9/1=60; 9/7=45 10/20 2/1/1988 4 games *10 inactive for games 5-6, 5 for games 7-14. 8 IR activations (3 for IR players before 9/7).
1988 NFL 45 2 - unlimited 8/23=60; 8/29=47 10/11 2/1/1989 4 games Limits adpoted on 5/25/1988. 5 IR activations (2 for IR players before 8/29).
1989 NFL 45 2 6* 90; 80=6/1+ 8/29=60; 9/4=47 10/17 2/1/1990 6 games Ddevelopmental squad (created on 3/23/1989). 5 IR activations; IR before 9/4=season; injury settlements started?. Plan B proposed 11/17/1988 & adopted 1/11/1989.
1990 NFL 45 2 3-5 training camp=80 8/28=60; 9/3=47 10/16 2/1/1991 4 games 5 IR activations; IR before 9/3=season. Developemental squad abolished on 7/25/1990. Practice squad created on 9/25/1990.
1991 NFL 45+QB 2 3-5 training camp=80 8/20=60; 8/26=47 10/8 2/1/1992 4 games 5 IR activations; IR before 8/26=season. Plan B ended by judge on 9/10/1992.
1992 NFL 45+QB 2 5? training camp=80 8/25=60; 8/31=47 10/13 3/1/1993 4 games 5 IR activations; IR before 8/31=season. New CBA adopted on 1/6/1993.
1993 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/24=60; 8/30=47; 8/31=53&PS 10/19 2/17/1994 Season
1994 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/23=60; 8/28=53; 8/29=PS 10/11 2/17/1995 Season
1995 NFL 45+QB* 8 5 80** 8/22=60 (CAR/JAC=65); 8/27=53 (CAR/JAC=56); 8/28=PS 10/10 2/16/1996 Season *CAR/JAC 56 weeks 1-3; 53 weeks 4+. **CAR/JAC=90 contract thru 8/22.
1996 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/20=60; 8/25=53; 8/26=PS 10/8 2/14/1997 Season
1997 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/20=60; 8/25=53; 8/26=PS 10/7 2/13/1998 Season
1998 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/25=60; 8/30=53; 8/31=PS 10/13 2/12/1999 Season
1999 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/31=70; 9/5=53; 9/6=PS 10/19 2/11/2000 Season No special rules for CLE.
2000 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/22=65; 8/27=53; 8/28=PS 10/10 3/2/2001 Season
2001 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/28=65; 9/2=53; 9/3=PS 10/16 3/1/2002 Season
2002 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/27=65; 9/1=53; 9/2=PS 10/15 2/28/2003 Season No special rules for HOU.
2003 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/26=65; 8/31=53; 9/1=PS 10/14 3/3/2004 Season
2004 NFL 45+QB 8 5 80 8/31=65; 9/5=53; 9/6=PS 10/19 3/2/2005 Season
2005 NFL 45+QB 8 8 80 8/30=65; 9/4=53; 9/5=PS 10/18 3/11/2006 Season
2006 NFL 45+QB 8 8 80 8/29=75; 9/2=53; 9/3=PS 10/17 3/2/2007 Season
2007 NFL 45+QB 8 8 80 8/28=75; 9/1=53; 9/2=PS 10/16 2/29/2008 Season
2008 NFL 45+QB 8 8 80 8/26=75; 8/30=53; 8/31=PS 10/14 2/27/2009 Season
2009 NFL 45+QB 8 8 80 9/1=75; 9/5=53; 9/6=PS 10/20 3/5/2010 Season
2010 NFL 45+QB 8 8 80 8/31=75; 9/4=53; 9/5=PS 10/19 7/26/2011 Season
2011 NFL 46 7 8 90 8/30=80; 9/3=53; 9/4=PS 10/18 3/13/2012 Season
2012 NFL 46 7 8 90 8/27=75; 8/31=53; 9/1=PS 10/16 3/12/2013 Season; one-player exception (four weeks)
2013 NFL 46 7 8 90 8/27=75; 8/31=53; 9/1=PS 10/29 3/11/2014 Season; one-player exception (four weeks)
2014 NFL 46 7 8+2* 90 8/27=75; 8/31=53; 9/1=PS 10/28 3/10/2015 Season; one-player exception (four weeks) *Each team is allowed two additonal PS players who would not normally qualify for the PS.
2015 NFL 46 7 8+2* 90 9/1=75; 9/5=53; 9/6=PS 11/3 3/9/2016 Season; one-player exception (four weeks) *Each team is allowed two additonal PS players who would not normally qualify for the PS.
FA=Free Agency. IR=Injured Reserve. PS=Practice Squad. QB=3rd emergency quarterback.
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