On any given business day, each team may add up to seven names to waivers. The remaining teams have 48 hours to file a claim. It is not first come, first served when two teams claim the same athlete. A team can still be awarded a free agent if another team declines their offer.
The rules are different for practice squad players. Each team has 90 minutes from the time it places its player on waivers to claim him. If a team claims someone within this time frame, they get the right to hire that player away from his previous club. Teams also have the option of releasing a player back to his original club.
Here is how much time is left on the clock for each team: Cincinnati (10 days), Denver (9 days), Detroit (8 days), New England (7 days), New York Jets (6 days), Oakland (5 days), Philadelphia (4 days), Pittsburgh (3 days), San Diego (2 days), Tampa Bay (1 day).
Teams have until 4 p.m. on the last day of the league year to place their players on waivers. At that point, all pending moves become official.
In 2001, the NFL allowed teams to trade draft choices. This system was created so that neither team had to give up a first-round pick in order to obtain a waiver priority.
Concerning continuous waivers At all times, all unclaimed players are on waivers. When a manager makes a claim to add a player, a countdown starts for other managers to make subsequent claims. The default time period is two days, however the commissioner of a private league has the option to vary it from no waivers to seven days. A player can be kept on waivers for as long as there are unclaimed players.
By rule, once a player is claimed he cannot be dropped back down again. However, in some cases a team may want to drop a player who has been claimed, or may have been claimed erroneously. If this occurs, then a new waiver period will begin and another chance will be given to other teams to claim that player.
The claiming process Will result in one of three things happening: 1 the player is claimed by a team and removed from waivers 2 the player is cleared for action based on health questions or personal issues 3 if no team claims him during the waiver period, he will be returned to his original club's roster.
A player can be put on waivers after their previous club has played at least one game since they were last on a roster. The new team has 10 days to decide whether to claim the player, with no further opportunity to be claimed through waivers. If they do not claim him within that time frame, then he will be returned to his original club's roster.
During the season (beginning July 4 and extending through the regular season), each team has 24 hours to register a claim for a player made available through the system by another team or relinquish the right to do so. Each team has many days during the offseason to file such claims. If a claim is not filed, the player will be assigned to the team that did not claim him.
There are two ways that a team can lose its right to exclusive negotiation with a free agent: via the waiver wire or through retirement. A team can waive a player by placing him on unconditional reserve/waiver status. The team must wait 48 hours after putting the player on reserve/waiver status before he can be traded. The only way a player can be released before then is if his new club files for a waiver within that time frame.
A player can also be released by retirement. A retired player can be replaced if his number is still available. A former first-round pick who has yet to play in an NFL game is expected to sign with the team that drafted him. In this case, his contract would be reported by the other team in order for the rookie wage scale to apply. If his new team does not want to pay him what he's worth, they can release him at any time prior to the start of the season.
Teams can place a player on irrevocable medical leave of absence.
Players on waivers cannot be leased or transferred for 24 hours after the list is published. Any player on waivers can be claimed by any other team in the league. If no other club makes a claim, the team may loan the player to another league. Of course, there are constraints.
If just one club makes a claim within that time, the player's contract is acquired by that team at the end of the waiver period. If numerous teams have claimed the player, the player is awarded to the team with the greatest priority (described below).
Overview of the Waiver Waivers are processed everyday about 3 a.m. ET. After that period, they either clear waivers, which means no one has claimed them, or they enter the free-agent pool. Unclaimed players can now be acquired on a first-come, first-served basis, with no impact on your team's waiver standing. A new rule was introduced this year allowing a team to place a "void" claim on a player within 24 hours of his becoming a free agent. If another club claims him before then, he goes unclaimed and is available for selection by your team at its discretion.
Here's how long it takes for a player to clear waivers:
Quarterbacks: 45 days
Running backs: 90 days
Wide receivers: 115 days
Tight ends: 120 days
Offensive lines: 180 days
Defensive lines: 185 days
Linebackers: 190 days
Cornerbacks: 195 days
Safeties: 210 days
Specialists: 255 days
The number after each position indicates the number of days it takes a player to clear waivers. The longer it takes a player to clear waivers, the more opportunity there is for him to be claimed.
To allocate rights or contracts to claiming teams, a priority mechanism based on inverse order of record is utilized. Players who clear waivers, or go unclaimed during the waiver period, become free agents. Waiver claims are not reversible. Once a player has been waived, it takes an agreement between the original team and the new team to place him on the roster. In other words, there is no such thing as a released player; only players who have been claimed can be said to have been released.
When a player clears waivers, his previous club has the right to assign its contract to another team within one week if it so chooses. If the original club does not elect to assign its contract, then the player becomes a free agent.
The purpose of clearing waivers is to allow a team to start over with a clean slate while terminating the contracts of all but the 10 most expensive players on that club. For example, if the New York Giants wanted to add running back Rashad Jennings to their active roster, they would have to first release him. The Browns would then have the right to claim him by going online and paying him a fee.