Now that the Detroit Lions preseason is over and the time for evaluations is over, the team will look to get ready for Week 1 by trimming their roster to the required 53-man limit for the regular season. Over the next two days, the Lions will face tough decisions and have to say goodbye to some talented players. Here’s an overview on how the process works.
- By 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 3, every NFL team must cut their roster down to 53-men. This can be done by trading, waiving, releasing or placing a player on the injured reserve or suspended list.
- Team can start signing players that have cleared waivers back to the practice squad starting on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 1 p.m. ET.
Practice squad rules
For a detailed look at what makes a player practice squad eligible, check out Andrew Kato’s post from earlier in the week. What you’ll find below is a quick cheat sheet.
Only 10 players are allowed on the practice squad. There are three ways a player can be eligible:
- Zero accrued seasons (defined as 6+ games on the 53-man roster) AND only two or fewer seasons on the practice squad.
- No seasons with 9 or more games on the active game day list AND only two or fewer seasons on the practice squad.
- One or two accrued season — with any amount of games on the active game day list — AND only two or fewer seasons on the practice squad.
For the final stipulation, there is a limit of four players that fit that description allowed on the 10-man squad.
For a list of all the practice squad eligible players on the Lions, check out this article.
Claiming players on waivers
After each team has cut their roster down to 53 men, certain players are subjected to waivers. Players that have fewer than four accrued seasons in the NFL cannot be released, they must be waived. This means that the player is not immediately available to be picked up as a free agent. Rather, the player enters a pool where all other 31 teams can place a claim on the player. The team with the highest priority is awarded that player.
Waiver priority is currently based on draft order, so the Lions have the 16th priority. After three weeks into the regular season, priority begins to move teams either up or down the list based on win-loss record.
If a player goes unclaimed by all other teams, he becomes a free agent and is clear to sign on a team’s practice squad, presuming he is eligible.