Roster cut Saturday is done. What comes next for the 2017 New York Jets roster?
The Jets and every other NFL team have been busy putting in waiver claims on some of the many hundreds of players waived yesterday. The time for putting in such claims expires at 12:00 noon EST today. Shortly thereafter word will begin to trickle out regarding which players the Jets and all other NFL teams successfully claimed on waivers. The Jets are sixth in waiver priority, meaning if any of the five teams ahead of the Jets (Browns, 49ers, Bears, Jaguars and Rams) puts in a claim on any player the Jets also claim, the Jets will not be awarded that player.
Any player successfully claimed by the Jets will be placed on the 53 man roster, and a corresponding roster move will need to be made to create space for the claimed player. This may or may not entail cutting a player. Roster space can also be created with trades or via the various reserved lists, such as injured reserve. Lorenzo Mauldin is one example of a player who might be moved to injured reserve today to open up a roster spot.
At 1:00 pm today teams can begin to assemble their practice squads. Players may only be signed to a practice squad after they have cleared waivers, meaning no other team has claimed them. The vast majority of players cut yesterday will go unclaimed, and those with no more than two years of eligible service on an NFL 53 man roster will then be eligible to be signed to a practice squad. In general practice squads consist largely of players cut by the same team the day before. Teams have the most familiarity with players they’ve had in camp all summer. However a team with a good scouting operation should be able to identify some better players from other teams’ cuts, and can poach such players for their own practice squads. A team like the Jets with so many roster needs would do well to scour every other team’s cuts to help in filling the practice squad.
Practice squad players make a minimum of approximately $120,000 a year, payable on a weekly basis during the season. All practice squad salaries count against the salary cap. With ten practice squad spots available the entire practice squad costs about $1.2 million in 2017 cap space. In theory there is no upper limit to the compensation paid to members of the practice squad. Occasionally a team will pay a particularly promising developmental player significantly more than the minimum to keep them away from other NFL teams. However the vast majority of practice squad players make the minimum.
Today should be a busy day for the Jets as they finalize waiver claims and fill the practice squad. After today roster changes slow down considerably, as the focus turns towards getting ready for the first game of the regular season against the Bills next Sunday.