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NFL roster cuts primer: Everything you need to know

Information on new rules, waiver wire, practice squad, and more.

NFL: SEP 17 Seahawks at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NFL roster cut down day is here. Some teams, like the Philadelphia Eagles, have already begun trimming and now the entire league will be joining them. Here’s a primer for what you need to know.

When is the cut deadline?

All 32 NFL teams are required to be at the 53-man limit before 4:00 PM ET today, Saturday, September 5, 2020.

Will the Eagles’ original 53-man roster be the one we see in Week 1 against Washington?

For the most part, yes, but not entirely.

The Eagles will continue to tweak the roster after the deadline depending on cuts around the league. The Eagles might try to claim a player or two via waivers. You can’t rule out the Eagles making a trade at any point with Howie Roseman is in charge.

It also remains to be seen how they’ll handle injured players. Putting Will Parks on injured reserve after roster cuts, for example, will open up a roster spot. The Eagles could look to re-sign one (or more) of the players they’ve already waived thus far.

Speaking of injuries, what should I know about those designations?

The Eagles currently have two players on active/physically unable to perform: Brandon Brooks and Alshon Jeffery. The Eagles can place both of those players on reserve/PUP so that they won’t count against the 53. The catch is that they’ll be required to miss at least the first six games of the 2020 season. Brooks is a lock for the PUP since he tore his Achilles in June. We’ll see what the Eagles decide on Jeffery.

One thing we know the Eagles won’t be doing with Jeffery is activating him from PUP just to put him on IR. Per my BGN Radio co-host Jimmy Kempski, that’s not allowed.

One should also note that any player who goes on IR before the cuts deadline is out for the season. The Eagles did this with Andre Dillard and Josh Perkins.

Players placed on IR after the cuts deadline are eligible to return as soon as three weeks later. As previously mentioned, the Eagles could look to do this with Parks. Players can only be returned from IR once per season, though. The Eagles can’t place Parks on IR a second time and bring him back again later in 2020.

What about the practice squad?

BGN will provide a more detailed explanation of the practice squad on Sunday morning but, for now, know that the Eagles can sign up to 16 players to a practice squad that doesn’t count against the 53-man roster. That figure is up from 10 last year.

Practice squad players are typically young guys with little experience but the NFL is newly allowing teams to sign up to six players with no limits on their experience.

In order to get to the practice squad, a player must clear waivers. After he clears waivers, he becomes a free agent, and then can sign with the practice squad.

Players on the practice squad can be signed by any other team ... unless they’re one of the four players that teams are now allowed to protect weekly from Tuesday through Sunday ahead of a game week. The catch is that the team that signs the player will have to keep him on their active roster for at least three weeks and guarantee his pay during that time.

Teams can start to form their practice squad after 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, September 7.

What is the NFL waiver wire and how does it work?

In short, a player who gets cut and has less than four years of service time is placed on waivers. All 31 other teams can place a claim on the player and add him to their 53-man roster. If the player passes through waivers unclaimed, they are free to sign with any team as an unrestricted free agent. The waiver wire order is identical to the 2020 NFL Draft order, so the Eagles will have the 21st claim on any cuts that take place. Teams with the worse records own the highest waiver claim priority.

It should be noted that former Eagles executives Joe Douglas (New York Jets general manager) and Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns general manager) own the 10th and 11th spots, respectively. They might be looking to scoop up some of Philly’s cuts.

The waiver period for the weekend ends at 12:00 PM ET on Sunday, September 5.

Where can I find full coverage of the Eagles cuts?

You can (CLICK HERE) to see BGN’s live cuts tracker.

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