What Is the NFL Post-June 1 Designation?

The NFL's post-June 1 designation is often a source of confusion heading into a new league year. What is it, why does it exist, and how does it work?

The details of the NFL salary cap are often confusing, and the rules around post-June 1 cuts can seem even more complicated. Let’s take a closer look at the NFL’s post-June 1 regulations, what the post-June 1 designation means, and how it affects teams and players.

NFL Post-June 1 Cut

Let’s start with a straightforward NFL release that occurs at the beginning of the new league year in March. If a team cuts a player at any point before June 1, all of his future guarantees and remaining prorated signing bonus will immediately “accelerate” onto the club’s salary cap.

The team is forced to absorb all of those charges at once. The cap space being allocated toward a player no longer on the roster is referred to as “dead money.”

However, the NFL’s post-June 1 rule states that any player released or traded after June 1 will have his dead money spread over two seasons instead of only the current campaign.

For example, let’s say a player has three years remaining on his contract with prorated signing bonus money of $5 million each season. Were he to be released or traded before June 1, his team would take on $15 million in dead money in 2024: three seasons at $5 million per.

But if the club waited until June 2 to trade or release that player, the post-June 1 rules would come into play. The team would still incur the player’s $5 million dead money charge for 2024, but the remaining $10 million would be pushed to the 2025 salary cap.

NFL Post-June 1 Designation

Still, teams don’t always want to wait until June 2 to cut a player because he could have roster bonuses or other guarantees that could kick in during the interim.

Meanwhile, players don’t want to be held captive on a roster all spring only to be released in June when most clubs have already used the majority of their cap space.

To fix those problems, NFL teams can use a post-June 1 designation when releasing a player. The player will immediately hit the open market, while the club can still realize the benefits of a post-June 1 cut without having to actually wait to release the player.

Teams can use the post-June 1 designation on two players each season.

However, there is one significant drawback to the post-June 1 designation: Clubs have to carry the player’s full cap charge for the current season until June, even though he is no longer on the roster.

Because the club doesn’t get to realize the additional cap space until June 2, post-June 1 designations aren’t helpful in creating immediate cap room for teams who want to sign free agents in March. However, the designations can help clubs that project to be tight on cap space later in the summer when it’s time to sign rookie classes.

KEEP READING: How Does the NFL Salary Cap Work?

One final, essential note: There is no post-June 1 designation for trades. A team can wait until after June 1 to process a trade and will see the same cap benefits we outlined, but they cannot trade a player in April and designate the deal as a post-June 1 trade.

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