WHY GIANTS WAIVED JAKE BALLARD: UNDERSTANDING THE NFL WAIVER WIRE
"With the NFL offseason
comes some angst, some withdrawals and the ever-strong frustration that’s born
mostly from complete lack of understanding.
The focused-upon aspect of the business side of New York
Giants football is
just about in the past months: Free Agency, the NFL Draft, and Team/Player negotiations that lead to a
contract or a departure. It’s not what the fans thought (from the comfort of
their favorite chair) should transpire, but eventually they grow to see the hows
and whys – even if it takes actually seeing how things play out for them to have
We’re in an odd part of the offseason where the players and coaches focus on
getting back to game day shape, acclimating with all things football
and preparing for that common goal that is the basis for the game itself. The
general managers, however, are still shifting, buying and building. A large part
of the “shifting” includes using National Football League Waivers: a system by which a team makes a
player contract or NFL rights
available to all other teams.
Taking a deeper look into waivers – all 32 teams utilize them as they own the
right to release a certain player without actually, say, cutting him. Once a
team cuts a player, they cut every tie and said player is immediately a free
agent to the rest of the league. With waivers, players who do not have a
recognized minimum amount of experience (four years) playing in the league
aren’t “cut”, but instead placed on the league's “waiver wire”. This waiver wire
allows the other 31 NFL teams to
claim (or waive) the right to the released player and to then secure him.
Players with more than four years/ experience are considered “vested” and
Bear in mind here that these waived players must clear the NFL waiver wire
before becoming a free agent. Once a player is placed on waivers, the other 31
teams have a 10-day period to place that claim on him. The team with the highest
slot in the waiver order is then granted that player. If no team makes an
assertion, that player then becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign with
any team. The teams’ waiver order is determined by the previous season's final
standings – exactly like the NFL Draft (without the trade ability). Multiple teams can
stake an interest in a waived player, but the higher-ranked team on the wire
will get their man. Teams have ten days to do so – up until the start of July
through December (considered in-season). Then, that time frame changes to just
one day – 24 hours.
Here are some important side notes:
[*]If a player is claimed and then released from his new team, he must re-enter
the waiver wire and pretty much begin the process all over again.[*]Players with four or more seasons of league experience immediately become
free agents if released from a team (the non-eligible part).[*]A player who is on an NFL team's 53-man game roster, injured reserve list (IR)
or physically unable to perform list (PUP) for at least six regular-season games
qualifies for a season's worth of league experience. Interesting one.[*]Players with more than four years’ experience are considered vested veterans
– even midway through the season, and are not subject to the waiver process at
that time (see: non-eligible). It’s just a “cut” at that point.[*]Waiver claims are permanent.[*]NFL teams are
prohibited from contacting waived players until the player has been released by
their team and after passing waivers.[/list]
Many teams utilize waivers to get players onto Injured Reserve without having
to waste a valuable roster spot at critical times. What recent events have shown
is that there is a degree of risk in doing so with young, talented players.
Teams are basically showing their hand, so to speak, and hoping no one has
better cards (or a spiteful plan).
What’s that old adage? “Without some risk there comes no reward”. Indeed."