53-man rosters are the beginning, not the end

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After having up to 90 players on the roster for months, teams may now have a maximum of 53. Which means the process of changing and churning and chipping the roster isn’t over — it’s just begun.

That’s why some players who made it onto the 53-man roster as of 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday shouldn’t exhale. On Sunday, teams will scan the waiver wire (players released with three or fewer years of service) and/or pursue free agents (players cut with four or more years of service). For each player acquired, a player who survived Saturday may not survive Sunday.

“We’re gonna have other transactions here, today, tomorrow and in the future on the development of this team,” Bill Belichick said Sunday, via Tom Curran of CSN New England. That’s not unique to the Patriots; all teams will be making additions and, in turn, subtractions.

For example, the decision of the Buccaneers to sign safety T.J. Ward means that someone who didn’t get cut on Saturday will be gone on Sunday. That same zero-sum game will play out in most if not all NFL cities.

“Too early for me to comment on the composition of the team as it’s a work in progress,” Belichick added, prompting Curran to describe the roster as a “castle in the sand” aimed at ensuring young players don’t relax or get cocky about thinking they’ve made it.

Many players throughout the league will find out today, tomorrow, or beyond that their castle has been conquered by the tide. That’s the other side of the coin when players whose NFL dream died on Saturday has it resurrected with a new team.

4 responses to “53-man rosters are the beginning, not the end

  1. By the time most of the NFL tries to mimic what Belichick does, he’s on to a different look- always a step ahead by being out of step in a copy cat league. 3-4 dominant, then back to 4-3; multiple tight ends, slot receiver, moving high dollar stars a year early, running back by low cost committee, going on 4th down, on and on. It’s fun to watch.

  2. “First off, I wish to thank coach Harbaugh, executive Grigson and my good friend Mara for all bringing this disturbing development to my immediate attention. A Super Bowl winner should not enter the offseason with $63M in cap space whilst retaining most of their weapons. It appears that the Patriots have done this through allowing their Head Coach to act as de facto GM for 17 years, allowing him free rein to be overly strict in contract management and player selection, and to trade to exploit the compensatory picks mechanism, and by allowing his callous hardball approach to both restricted and unrestricted Free Agents. These machinations, whilst in themselves being within the rules, have effectively combined to circumvent the purpose of Parity Rules which are supposed to hurt Super Bowl winners. And in my solemn duty as Commissioner, I have called this press conference today, to announce that, in order to preserve the Integrity of the Game, the following unprecedented penalties will be applied…”

  3. I am thinking the signing of a veteran interior lineman is in the works for the Patriots and their rookie tight end will slide to the P squad if not signed elsewhere. Protecting Brady is high on the priority list.

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