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.