What are waivers and how do they work in the NFL?

Let's take a. look at how the waiver process works in the National Football League.

NFL Combine
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In the National Football League, the term waivers refers to the process by which a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers can release a player from its roster, making that player available to be claimed by other teams.

When a team decides to waive a player, it means they are terminating the player's contract, and that player goes through a period during which other teams can place a claim to acquire his services.

How does the waiver system work?

The waiver system is designed to provide an ordered process for new teams to acquire players who have been released. The waiver order is typically based on the current standings in the NFL, with the team holding the worst record also holding the highest waiver priority. This means that if multiple teams place a claim on the same player, the franchise with the highest waiver priority lays claim the player.

Which team has the top waiver claim?

During the offseason, in which there are no current standings, the order of finish from the previous season becomes the working waiver priority order until the new year begins. This means that the Carolina Panthers will hold the top waiver priority position for any released players until next September when the 2024 regular season begins.

Are there exceptions to being placed on waivers?

There is an exception to a player being placed on waivers and that's related to career years of service in the NFL. Players with less than four seasons accrued in the league are subject to waivers. If a player has more than that, he can immediately sign with any team as an unrestricted free agent.

What if a player goes unclaimed on waivers?

Once a player clears waivers without being claimed by any team, he is an unrestricted free agent just like any veteran player.