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NFL roster cuts 2017: How the waiver wire works

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Everything you need to know about the NFL’s waiver wire heading into final roster cuts.

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NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have begun making roster moves ahead of the September 2, 2017 deadline to have rosters trimmed to 53 players. Teams must be at 53-man rosters by 4:00pm EST.

Most of the players being cut in the coming days are subject to waivers, meaning that 31 other teams will have the chance to claim them, but there’s a lot more complexity to how this works.

With so much happening, here is a refresher on how the waiver wire operates.

Who is eligible to go through the waiver wire?

When a team releases a player with less than four years of service, he is subject to the waiver wire process. Any player with less than four years of NFL experience is subject to the waiver process upon release from their former NFL team.

What is the waiver wire?

The NFL’s waiver wire is a system that allows teams to submit a claim for a player who was cut by another team. The waiver wire operates on a 24-hour timeframe during which teams can submit a claim following a player being cut.

When a team releases a player with less than four years of service, they are subject to the waiver process. Any player with at four or more years of service who is cut is not subject to the waiver process. Players with four or more years of NFL experience immediately become free agents and can sign with any NFL team of their choosing (that’s also interested in them).

However, during the NFL season from the NFL trading deadline through the end of the regular season, vested veterans are also subject to the waiver process. That means any veterans cut after Week 8, which is October 31 this year, will go through waivers along with non-vested veterans. (A vester veteran is a player with four or more years of NFL experience.)

Normally when a player is released, waivers run the next day. For roster cuts, all players run through waivers on Sunday, whether they were released on Friday or Saturday.

During the offseason, the waiver wire order is the same as the draft order. After Week 3 of the regular season, the order turns to the standings around the league as the team with the worst record gets first priority on the waiver wire and the team with the best record gets last priority.

2017 waiver wire order

OVERALL TEAM
OVERALL TEAM
1 Cleveland
2 San Francisco
3 Chicago
4 Jacksonville
5 Los Angeles Rams
6 New York Jets
7 Los Angeles Chargers
8 Carolina
9 Cincinnati
10 Buffalo
11 New Orleans
12 Philadelphia
13 Arizona
14 Minnesota
15 Indianapolis
16 Baltimore
17 Washington
18 Tennessee
19 Tampa Bay
20 Denver
21 Detroit
22 Miami
23 New York Giants
24 Oakland
25 Houston
26 Seattle
27 Kansas City
28 Dallas
29 Green Bay
30 Pittsburgh
31 Atlanta
32 New England

Which Jaguars players are eligible for waivers?

A player with less than four years of NFL experience is considered waived when cut from an NFL team. The majority of players cut this weekend have less than four years of experience in the NFL.

What happens when a player isn't claimed by anyone?

When a player goes unclaimed on the waiver wire, he becomes a free agent. If a player cut by the Jaguars passes through waivers unclaimed, Jacksonville could sign said player to the practice squad. However, said player may also sign with any other team’s practice squad. All practice squad eligible players must go through waivers.

The practice squad can be created as of 1:00 p.m. ET on September 3, 2017.

Click here to read the NFL’s full breakdown of the waiver wire.