As NFL fans, we all have little beefs (or maybe major beefs) with the league when it comes to the various rules governing the game. The on-field rules are a staple of this debate, most notably the rules protecting the QB. The NFL makes rule changes just about every offseason, often in a bit of a reactive state, instead of a proactive state.
I've decided that every so often, when it strikes my fancy, I'll roll out a suggestion for a rule change. Feel free to support or critique the suggestion as much as you want. It's a way to figure out what's working and what's not in the NFL's current system.
Today, my beef is with the NFL's waiver system as it applies to reaching the 53-man roster limit (and yes I realize the "my beef" idea is stolen from when Leno would appear on Letterman's show back in the day). This Saturday the 49ers, and the rest of the NFL have to decide who they want on their 53-man roster. As was mentioned in our 53-man roster discussion earlier today, we know who will be filling a vast majority of the 53-man roster. The question is for those battles for the last two or three roster spots between many players.
The 49ers will make their decisions in the coming days and waive 20 players (at this point). At least eight of those players waived are guys they would like on their practice squad. However, those players will have to clear waivers, meaning any other team can claim them for their own 53-man roster. On the one hand they have to fill that roster spot on their 53-man roster. On the other hand, the original team has no chance to hold them back.
In baseball, it's obviously different circumstances, but as happened throughout August, a team could place a player on waivers and if that player was claimed by another team, the two teams could work out a trade, the original team could release the player to that team (with the associated contract costs), or the original team could pull the player back from waivers and keep that player.
For football I realize the value of waivers. A team could bury a player on their practice squad if there was no waiver system, so it's protecting the players. My suggestion is a simple one: use a modified version of baseball's system. The 49ers would waive their 20 players. If somebody claimed one or more of those players, the 49ers would then get at least a right of first refusal to put them on their 53-man roster. The counter-argument is that if you really wanted them on your 53-man you wouldn't have waived them. That's certainly likely, but I think there at least needs to be an option to reconsider the decision in light of a potential claim.
Am I off my rocker, or does this seem relatively reasonable? And any wonder why it hasn't been an option up to this point?