With top waiver priority, Bengals claim just one player

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Having the first priority in the waiver order is a significant advantage on the day after roster cutdowns. Hundreds of players were placed on waivers yesterday, and today the Bengals, because they had the worst record in the league last year, have first dibs at all of them.

But the Bengals chose to claim just one player, guard Deion Calhoun, who was waived by the Dolphins yesterday.

That’s a departure from recent years: In the last two seasons, the team with the first priority in the waiver order claimed five players on the day after roster cutdown day. But this year is different because pandemic rules that mean a player can’t just hop on a flight to his new city and immediately start practicing with his new team. Far fewer players were claimed on waivers today than are claimed most years.

Maybe the Bengals just like the roster they have, but more importantly, the pandemic may have made the Bengals and other teams decide it’s not feasible to claim a lot of new players today and expect them to be ready to play in Week One.