If the Eagles like a player who's released by another team this weekend, they better hope no other team likes him.
Because the way the NFL’s waiver claim system is set up, the Eagles can only get a player that nobody else wants.
The NFL’s waiver claim process is set up to give teams coming off losing seasons the first crack at players who are released.
So waiver claim priority goes in inverse order of teams' finish in the previous season.
If a player is waived during the preseason and there are multiple claims filed for that player, his rights go to the team that had the worst record the previous year of the teams claiming him.
In the event of ties, the normal NFL tiebreakers that determine playoff seedings and draft order are applied.
So if you're the Browns and you went 0-16 last year, you're guaranteed to be awarded every player you claim.
The team that wins the Super Bowl is 32nd and last in waiver claim priority. So the only way the Eagles can be awarded a player on waivers is if he's not claimed by any other team.
With 32 teams reducing their rosters from 90 to 53 this weekend, somewhere around 1,184 players will go through the waiver process.
Waiver claim priority changes to current won-loss record after the third week of the regular season. But now? The Eagles are on the outside looking in.
Vested veterans, or those with four or more years of pension credit, are not currently subject to the NFL’s waiver process. When they’re released, they immediately become unrestricted free agents. This changes during the regular season, when all players are subject to the waiver process.
When a player is claimed, his contract becomes the property of his new team. So every incentive, every bonus, every base salary written in the deal becomes the responsibility of his new team.
If a player is not claimed by any team by 4 p.m. the day after he’s waived, he becomes an unrestricted free agent, free to negotiate a new deal with any team. His existing contract evaporates … other than the dead money implications (if any) for his previous team.
Once a player clears waivers, he’s free to sign with another team or sign to a team’s practice squad. Players on a practice squad technically remain free agents in that they’re always free to sign onto any other team’s 53-man roster.