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2018 Patriots roster cuts: How does the waiver wire work and what does it mean for New England?

Everything you need to know about the NFL’s waiver wire heading into final roster cuts.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

As part of their roster cutdowns, the New England Patriots parted ways with multiple players over the last two days. However, not all cuts are the same as the NFL differentiates between veterans and less experienced players: if a player has less than four accrued seasons – more on that in a moment – on his résumé, he will not hit the open market right away but instead has to go through the waiver wire.

So, what exactly does this mean? Let’s find out.

How does the NFL’s waiver wire work?

The waiver wire allows teams to submit claims for younger players that have previously been cut by other teams. Organizations usually have 24 hours to submit claims but this window is shorter over the NFL’s cutdown weekend: with final cuts taking place at 4:00 p.m. ET yesterday, teams only have until 12:00 p.m. today to submit claims to a players rights. If a player gets claimed, he joins a team’s 53-man active roster.

What’s the waiver claim order?

For the first three weeks of the season, teams submit claims based on the draft order. The worst team – in this case the Cleveland Browns – is the first to put in a claim:

1. Cleveland Browns

2. New York Giants

3. Indianapolis Colts

4. Houston Texans

5. Denver Broncos

6. New York Jets

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. Chicago Bears

9. San Francisco 49ers

10. Oakland Raiders

11. Miami Dolphins

12. Cincinnati Bengals

13. Washington Redskins

14. Green Bay Packers

15. Arizona Cardinals

16. Baltimore Ravens

17. Los Angeles Chargers

18. Seattle Seahawks

19. Dallas Cowboys

20. Detroit Lions

21. Buffalo Bills

22. Kansas City Chiefs

23. Los Angeles Rams

24. Carolina Panthers

25. Tennessee Titans

26. Atlanta Falcons

27. New Orleans Saints

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

30. Minnesota Vikings

31. New England Patriots

32. Philadelphia Eagles

A player gets awarded to a team based on the ranking: if the Vikings and Patriots, for example, are the only teams to submit a claim for a player, he joins Minnesota given the team’s better ranking.

Who is placed on waivers?

As noted above, players with less than four accrued seasons need to pass through the waiver wire in order to hit “regular” unrestricted free agency. The NFL defines an accrued season as six or more games on either a team’s 53-man roster, or on injured reserve, or on the physically unable to perform list. All qualifying players released yesterday have hit the waiver wire and are subject to being claimed by other teams.

Which Patriots have hit the waiver wire?

The following is a list of Patriots that are subject to waivers:

DT John Atkins

P Corey Bojorquez

OL Cole Croston

QB Danny Etling

RB Kenneth Farrow

OL James Ferentz

DT Trent Harris

CB Cyrus Jones

OL Jason King

LB Harvey Langi

DE Eric Lee

WR K.J. Maye

WR Riley McCarron

DB A.J. Moore

FB Henry Poggi

DB Damarius Travis

TE Will Tye (reverts to injured reserve if unclaimed)

DT Vincent Valentine

RB Ralph Webb

CB Jomal Wiltz

WR Paul Turner

DT Frank Herron

WR Devin Lucien

CB Ryan Lewis

RB Khalfani Muhammad

Last year, the Patriots saw four of their cuts get claimed on waivers. The majority of players, however, passes through the wire unpicked – and thus becomes ready to get signed to the practice squad.

Which Patriots have not hit the waiver wire?

As noted, not all released players are subject to waivers. Those with more than four accrued seasons worth of experience will not have to go through the process. In New England’s case, we are speaking of the following six men:

RB Brandon Bolden

OL Luke Bowanko (injury settlement)

LB Marquis Flowers

RB Mike Gillislee

OL Brian Schwenke

OL Matt Tobin

All six players listed above are now free to sign with other teams – or the Patriots again, with the exception of Bowanko: as part of his injury settlement, he will now receive pre-negotiated payments by New England for a period that depends on the severity of his injury. However, he cannot be re-signed by the team during that time. Once the settlement period is over, Bowanko is free to join any team’s roster but would have to wait an additional six weeks to join New England’s again.