NFL owners on Wednesday approved new roster cutdown deadlines for the 2021 season.
Teams will be permitted to open training camp with 90 players. They must then cut down to 85 by Aug. 17, 80 by Aug. 24 and 53 players by Aug. 31. The three cutdown dates are all on Tuesdays following each of the three weeks of the preseason.
In expanding from 16 to 17 regular-season games this year, the NFL also reduced the preseason from four to three contests, eliminating the fourth games that were traditionally held the Thursday night before Labor Day weekend.
Final cuts previously have occurred eight days before the first Sunday of the regular season; this year that time period will be 12 days. The Bears are scheduled to open the 2021 campaign against the Rams in Los Angeles Sunday night, Sept. 12.
NFL owners on Wednesday also approved a proposal that prohibits blocking below the waist on scrimmage downs when contact occurs more than five yards beyond either side of the line of scrimmage and more than two yards outside of the tackle box.