Key NFL dates ahead for Patriots

A look at some key dates ahead for the Patriots:

Friday, Aug. 24 -- Preseason Game 3 at Tampa.

Monday, Aug. 27 -- Roster reduction to maximum of 75 players by 4 p.m. ET.

Wednesday, Aug. 29 -- Preseason Game 4 at N.Y. Giants.

Friday, Aug. 31 -- Roster reduction to maximum of 53 players by 9 p.m. ET.

* Clubs may dress minimum of 43 and maximum of 46 players for each regular season and postseason game.

Saturday, Sept. 1 -- Claiming period for players placed on waivers at final roster reduction expires at noon ET.

Saturday, Sept. 1 -- Beginning at 12 p.m. ET, clubs may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free agency credit or who were on the 46-player active list for less than nine regular season games during each of any accrued seasons. A player cannot participate on the practice squad for more than three seasons.

Tuesday, Sept. 4 -- Deadline, at 4 p.m. ET, for all teams to be in compliance with the NFL salary cap as the transition takes place from accounting for the top 51 players to all players on the final roster at midnight that day.

Wednesday, Sept. 5 -- Deadline for clubs to submit written request to receive up to $1.5 million in additional salary cap room for the 2012 league year, in accordance with CBA Article 11, Section 5(e)(ii).

Tuesday, Sept. 25 -- Priority on multiple waiver claims is now based on the current season's standing.

Tuesday, Oct. 16 -- First day a player on the reserve/phsyically unable to perform list or reserve/non-football injury list can begin to practice.

Tuesday, Oct. 16 -- Trade deadline (4 p.m. ET).

Monday, Dec. 31 -- Clubs may begin signing players for 2013 season.