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NFL free agency: A key change now that the trade deadline is over

Players are no longer released in the NFL

New York Jets v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The NFL trade deadline has come and gone. No one is coming to the Cleveland Browns but WR Donovan Peoples-Jones has gone home to the Detroit Lions.

While that was the only trade made by the Browns on NFL trade deadline day, GM Andrew Berry did make multiple adjustments to the team’s practice squad including signing two former Baltimore Ravens.

With the trade deadline over, NFL free agency now takes a small but important turn.

Prior to the deadline, a player with four or more years of experience would be released by a team while a player with less experience would be waived. The veterans could then select their future destinations while the younger players would wait to see if they were claimed off the waiver wire.

Now that the trade deadline is over, all players are placed on waivers no matter how many years of service they have in the league. That means veterans may not have a choice where they play if they are released by their current team.

There are rarely impactful players that become available later in the season. Cleveland waived Odell Beckham Jr. just after the trade deadline two years ago but no team claimed him. He went on to sign with the Los Angeles Rams and have a big impact on their Super Bowl run before getting hurt.

Much like fantasy football, the waiver wire order is based on the record of teams in the league at this point. Currently, at 4-3, the Browns would have 20 teams ahead of them on the waiver wire priority list.