In response to the recent flurry of player cuts, including a large group that was dumped by the Browns on Wednesday, several of you have asked whether those folks can be signed now, or whether they must wait until March 4 to become free agents.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello advises that players with four or more years of service instantly become free agents upon being released. For example, then, defensive lineman Shaun Rogers can be signed by another team between now and March 4.
If/when a lockout commences, all business will cease. Until then, however, veteran player released from their contracts may join new teams — if/when new teams try to sign them. (For players with fewer than four years of service, they must first pass through waivers.)
All that said, teams aren’t doing a whole lot of business right now, anyway. With 490 players due to become free agents on March 4, precious few are re-signing with their current teams, possibly because owners want to keep money in their pockets — and thus out of the players’ pockets — as a work stoppage approaches. Under that reasoning, there’s no reason for anyone to sign Shaun Rogers until after the labor situation is resolved.