There are two extremely difficult days/weekends working in an NFL building. One is locker clean out day after the final game of the season. 31 teams have to suffer through a locker clean out day after a week 17, year-ending game or a playoff loss. However, one team's locker clean out takes a little longer with the parades, parties, the Lombardi and what not. The other truly difficult weekend is this one. Unlike the 31/1 sad/happy locker clean out ratio, all 32 teams go through the roster clean out process, if you will, and, not surprisingly, no one is ever truly happy about it.
The Texans roster was trimmed by three at the beginning of this week as the Texans waived quarterback Alex McGough and defensive lineman Albert Huggins and released linebacker/special teams guru Daren Bates. So, that brought the number down to 77. Here is what must now happen by 3 PM Saturday for every team in the league.
The Texans must release/waive (most likely) or trade (not as likely, but not outside the realm of possibility) a total of 24 players to get down to the league mandated 53-man roster. In future years, that roster number will increase, but for 2020, the number is still 53. The Texans then have an opportunity to bring back a total of 16 players on the practice squad. As opposed to prior years, the practice squad can include veterans of unlimited NFL experience. The Colts could place future Hall of Fame kicker Adam Vinatieri on the practice squad if they chose and he started playing before this rookie class was born.
As such, the practice squad is as followed
- Up to six players can have an unlimited amount of NFL experience.
- There are four exception players like in prior years that can have some NFL experience
- The remainder must fall under past practice squad rules where experience/years in the league determine eligibility
The practice squad becomes even that much more important because teams can protect four practice squad players from signing with any of the 31 other teams. The teams must announce who is protected by Tuesday of a normal game week. Furthermore, teams can elevate players from the practice squad to the gameday roster up to 90 minutes prior to kick off as a result of COVID-19 testing.
The hard part for teams as it pertains to the practice squad is that a player must go through the waiver process first before a team can bring a guy back on the practice squad. So, those 24 players the Texans waive/release this weekend may field calls, but teams make a waiver claim on a player they must put him on their 53-man roster. In 2018, the Texans claimed A.J. Moore and Buddy Howell and those two made a significant impact on the special teams units immediately. So, there are a ton of moving parts this weekend and teams must make some tough cut decisions. They, then, hope that said released/cut/waived players don't get claimed so that they return them back to the practice squad.
So, all in all, there will be a lot of guys wondering what the next phase of life might entail. Could they make the Texans 53-man roster? Will they get cut and claimed on waivers? What new city is in their future? Will they clear waivers and await a call to re-join the Texans practice squad? Will football be over forever?
We're all excited for week one as the Texans kick off against Kansas City, but there are a few hundred young men wondering what the future holds for them at this very moment. Good luck to all and we'll see you on the other side.
Watch the Houston Texans take on the Kansas City Chiefs on September 10th at 7:20 p.m. CT on KPRC/NBC or the Texans Mobile App.