Redskins fans know the premise of roster cutdown day: The team goes from 90 players all the way down to 53. Those players will be on the Week 1 roster against the Philadelphia Eagles.

But some fans don't understand all the different terms: cut, waived and released. To help, here are some definitions, as taken from

  • Waived - A non-vested player (less than four years of service) who is terminated goes through waivers. When he is released another team can claim him within a certain period of time. A vested veteran only goes through the waiver system from the trading deadline in midseason through the end of the season. During the offseason and all the way up to the trading deadline, a vested veteran gets released. 
  • Released - A vested veteran is free when he is terminated and can sign with any club. Keep in mind, if the termination takes place between the end of the trading deadline and the end of the calendar year, the player goes through waivers. A vested veteran released this time of year is free to sign with any team. 
  • Cut - An unofficial term for being terminated and one of the above two categories applies.

To help explain, veteran safety Will Blackmon was released. He is free to sign anywhere, and that's likely why the club released him on Friday to get an early start on the process. Young players - guys like undrafted Nico Marley and late-round pick Robert Davis - got their contracts terminated and will need to clear waivers before they can come back to the Redskins practice squad. 

Even Matt Jones, a third-round draft pick with lots of NFL experience, still must go through waivers as he has not acquired four years of NFL service. He was drafted in 2015. 


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