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How does the NFL waiver wire system work following roster cuts?

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The 49ers 53-man roster is set....for now. With hundreds of players going through waivers on Sunday, it's time once again to explain that process.

The San Francisco 49ers and all 31 other NFL teams made roster cuts on Saturday to get down to the 53-man roster limit. A sizable chunk of those 53-man rosters are going to change as soon as Sunday afternoon. Players with less than four years of accrued service time cut on Saturday go through the waivers process, and can be claimed by any of the other 31 NFL teams. Here is the full list of players cut over the past week.

What is the waiver wire?

Fantasy football fans know it best, and that knowledge gives you a basic understanding of how it works. It is a system that provides the worst team in the league the best chance at getting a player that is waived. When a player is waived, teams have until the next day to place a claim on the player. It is normally 24 hours, but it appears to actually be 23 hours for this period after roster cuts. Teams have until 9 a.m. PT on Sunday, September 6 to place claims on players waived on Saturday. If multiple teams place a claim on a player, the team with the highest priority wins. Players waived before Saturday already went through waivers. If a player is not claimed off waivers, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

How is waiver priority determined? What is the 49ers priority?

For the first three weeks of the season, waiver priority is based on draft order. After that it is based on NFL standings. The 49ers are currently No. 15 in waiver priority.

Who has to go through waivers?

Players with fewer than four years of accrued service time go through waivers. Players with at least four years of accrued service do not go through waivers during the first half of the season, and instead immediately become free agents. A player accrues a season when he is on the 53-man roster, Injured Reserve or PUP list for at least six games. Beginning November 3, the day after the trade deadline passes, those players with 4+ seasons of accrued service time are then subject to waivers.