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Saints, Bucs complete 54-man roster trick

When posting on Tuesday a brief blurb pointing out that the Saints had placed tackle Jammal Brown on injured reserve and also had signed offensive lineman Nick Leckey, I thought to myself, “That name sounds more familiar than it should.”

So, as I do in most cases when resolving a nagging question might actually require effort on my part, I ignored it.

But when I received today the e-mail notice from the Buccaneers that linebacker Matt McCoy has been re-signed, I remembered why Leckey’s name stood out from the crowd of bottom-of-the-roster slapolas who are trying their damnedest (and we respect for that, despite calling them slapolas, slappies, or slapdicks) to stick on an NFL team.

Leckey was cut on Saturday to create a spot for quarterback Chase Daniel, just like McCoy was cut on Saturday to create a spot for receiver Mario Urrutia.

It’s the 54-man roster trick — a device for creating an extra roster spot by cutting late in a given week a vested veteran whom the team trusts to not sign with another team.  By cutting the veteran on Saturday, the player misses no practice time (other than a walk-through) and loses no money.  Then, the following week, the vested veteran is re-signed.

Typically, the player who was called up to fill a specific roster need is then cut again, just as the Bucs did with Urrutia.  In New Orleans, however, the Saints have not yet been required to cut Daniel, since Brown has been placed on injured reserve.

Technically, the move violates no league rules — as long as the teams don’t tell the players who are cut that there will be a spot for them the following week and/or as long as the teams don’t seek assurances from the players (or their agents) that they won’t sign with other teams.

Surely, the Saints didn’t cut Leckey and the Bucs didn’t cut McCoy without explaining what would happen this week.  Even more surely, neither team set those players loose without feeling pretty darn confident that they would re-sign this week. 

And they have.

Here’s the caveat.  After next month’s trading deadline, vested veterans must pass through waivers, so if a team tries the 54-man roster trick, there’s a risk that no amount of winking and/or nodding will ensure that the player who is cut on Saturday will still be available on Tuesday.

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11 Responses to “Saints, Bucs complete 54-man roster trick”
  1. brownswinner says: Sep 30, 2009 3:25 PM

    Good Article. Actually very interesting. I’m shocked.

  2. VoxVerítas says: Sep 30, 2009 3:34 PM

    “Here’s the caveat.”
    What’s raw fish eggs got to do with it?
    “veterans must pass through waivers”
    They do that every time they take the field.
    See? I be wavin’

  3. ZombieRevolution says: Sep 30, 2009 3:41 PM

    “Surely, the Saints didn’t cut Leckey and the Bucs didn’t cut McCoy without explaining…”
    Good article, it manages to imply the Saints and Bucs are cheating without any actual proof.
    “…bottom-of-the-roster slapolas who are trying their damnedest (and we respect for that, despite…” PFT can afford an editor, righ?
    By the very use of the term slapola you are showing disrespect, not matter what you add after. Maybe fringe NFL player or even Journeymen NFL player would be more professional.

  4. cnelson13 says: Sep 30, 2009 3:43 PM

    This is such a pointless topic.

  5. darth_vincent says: Sep 30, 2009 3:49 PM

    this one of those what-evers…. as we all know, the 53rd man on the roster is coveted (thanks chilly) by all the other teams in the league, oh wait, they’re not.

  6. SaintsBucsPanthersSUKK says: Sep 30, 2009 3:50 PM

    Cheaters never prosper, except if you’re the Patr

  7. Wrathchild says: Sep 30, 2009 3:51 PM

    Ain’t no one else gonna be signing McCoy or Leckey…very little for a team to worry about considering the caliber of player they are performing the trick with.

  8. ModHairKen says: Sep 30, 2009 4:14 PM

    “Saints, Bucs complete 54-man roster trick”
    – And for the Bucs’ next trick, they are going to fire the coach who won the Super Bowl, hire an inexperienced lackey as Head Coach, hire an incompetent OC, dump the team’s greatest player in history, bring in a DC to implement a scheme none of the players are suited for, and sign Arnold Jackson to play QB.
    Wait, that already happened.

  9. er pete says: Sep 30, 2009 4:21 PM

    It’s the old switcheroo…like when you try to get with your girlfriend’s roommate.

  10. Hosstyle In Tampa says: Sep 30, 2009 5:28 PM

    This MUST be categorically FALSE. There’s NO WAY IN HELL that the Bucs could make this smart of a move….not these Bucs, at least.

  11. SF Saints Fan says: Sep 30, 2009 5:46 PM

    So, the Saints have learned to do what most teams have probably been doing for years. About time. Maybe we are heading in the right direction after all.
    In addition, the player(s) who are cut probably don’t want to sign with another team because they like the direction the Saints are headed. What I am getting at in a roundabout way is that this type of “trick” would probably notwork with the Raiders.

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