American Football Database

Waivers is a National Football League labor management procedure by which a team makes an American football player contract or NFL rights (such as NFL draft rights to an unsigned player) available to all other teams. During the season (starting July 4 and lasting through the regular season), each team has 24 hours to file a claim for a player that another team has made available through the system or waive the right to do so. During the off season each team has several days to file such claims. Claiming teams are assigned the rights to or contracts via a priority system based on inverse order of winning percentage. Players that pass through waivers unclaimed become free agents.[1][2] Waiver claims are irrevocable.[1]

As of 2008, according to the NFL collective bargaining agreement, if any waiver of a veteran player who has completed the season that gives him four years of service occurs between February 1 and the trading deadline in mid October, then that player shall be considered an unrestricted free agent by termination of his contract.[1][2]

NFL clubs are prohibited from contacting waived players until the player has been released by the club after passing waivers.[2]

As of 2008, at the conclusion of a season in which a veteran with four years of service is claimed via waivers, veterans with a no-trade clause in their contracts may declare himself a free agent. Any other veteran with four years of service can declare himself a free agent at the conclusion of the season subsequent to the season in which they were claimed on waivers if they remain under a claimed contract.[2]

A player who has been cleared waivers and become a free agent shall be immediately free to negotiate and sign a player contract with any NFL Club, and any Club shall be completely free to negotiate and sign a player contract with such player. There will be no penalty or restriction, including, but not limited to, Draft Choice Compensation between Clubs or First Refusal Rights of any kind, or any signing period.[2][dated info]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Waivers". 2006 NFL Fact & Record Book. Retrieved 2008-09-04.[dead link]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "NFL WAIVER SYSTEM/RULES". Dawg Talkers Message Boards. 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2008-09-04.