The San Francisco 49ers will have a 53-man roster within the next six hours. The team made six roster cuts on Friday, and will make the remaining moves on Saturday to get to the league-mandated roster limit. This does not mean it will be the team's full Week 1 roster, as there could still be additional moves. But it will give us a good idea of most of the roster.
With that in mind, I wanted to run down some of the nuts and bolts of timing and what everything means today and tomorrow as we prepare for the start of the 2015 season. The 49ers likely knew a vast majority of their roster heading into training camp, and figured out most of the remaining position battles by the end of Week 3.
Roster cut weekend nuts and bolts
Saturday, September 5, 1 p.m. (all times PT) The 49ers have to be at 53 players. Following Friday's cuts they are at 69 players. They will place Jerome Simpson on the Reserve/Suspended list, but barring any trades or surprise IR moves, the team will be cutting the remaining 15 players to get to the limit.
Sunday, September 6, 9 a.m. Waiver wire claiming period for Saturday cuts ends. This means that if another team cuts a player who goes to waivers, and the 49ers claim him, they need to get their claim in by this time. A player with less than four years of accrued service team is placed on waivers for any of the other 31 teams to claim. If they are not claimed, they become an unrestricted free agent. A player with four or more years of accrued service time becomes a free agent immediately upon being cut.
This is where things can change from the Saturday roster. The 49ers might see a player worth claiming and thus drop somebody on the back-end of their existing roster. Most of the players can feel safe after cuts, but there will be a few that could still end up as waiver fodder. The waiver order is based on draft order at this point, so the 49ers are No. 15.
Sunday, September 6, 10 a.m. 49ers can begin signing players to their 10-man practice squad. Here is a full rundown of practice rules and currently eligible 49ers.
Sunday, September 6, 1 p.m. Teams can begin placing players on Injured Reserve as "Designation for Return." This rule means a player can't practice for the first six weeks and can't play for the first eight weeks of the season. The upside is that they don't count against the 53-man roster during that time. The downside is they can only use it on one player the entire season. The 49ers used this on Glenn Dorsey last season, and Nick Moody the season before. They do not appear to have a candidate right now, but they could surprise us.
Wednesday, September 9, 9 p.m. The "Top 51" rule expires, which means teams must be compliant with the salary cap for their entire roster. This includes the 53-man roster, practice squad, PUP, IR, NFI and dead money.