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NFL roster cuts, explained

Everything you need to new about new rules, waiver wire, practice squad, and more.

NFL: AUG 21 Preseason - Bills at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NFL roster cut down day is here. The action has already begun around the league but the majority of trimming will take place today.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, Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

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

Not exactly!

The Eagles will continue to tweak the roster after the deadline. The Eagles will likely try to claim a player or two or three via waivers, especially since they’re sixth overall in the waiver order. You can’t rule out the Eagles making a trade at any point with Howie Roseman is in charge.

The Eagles could also look to cut some veterans who aren’t subject to waivers (ex: Richard Rodgers) only to bring them right back after opening some roster spots by putting players on short-term injured reserve (ex: Tyree Jackson). These kind of potential machinations made projecting the 53-man roster especially tricky this year.

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

The Eagles activated Rodney McLeod from PUP and Landon Dickerson from NFI on Monday. That means those players will NOT miss at least the first six weeks of the season and instead will start the season on the 53-man roster. Note that McLeod and Dickerson CANNOT be placed on short-term injured reserve to cheat the system and miss only three weeks instead of six.

If the Eagles place any player on injured reserve BEFORE today’s cuts deadline, they will be out for the season. Putting a player on short-term IR requires carrying them on the original 53.

What about the practice squad?

BGN will provide a more detailed explanation of the practice squad tomorrow 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.

Practice squad players are typically young guys with little experience but the NFL is newly (as of last year) 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 4:00 PM ET on Wednesday, September 1.

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 2021 NFL Draft order, so the Eagles will have the sixth 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) second spot He could be looking to scoop up some of Philly’s cuts.

The waiver period for the weekend ends at 4:00 PM ET on Wednesday, September 1.

Where can I find full coverage of the Eagles cuts?

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