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Preparing for the Indianapolis Colts roster cuts, how the waiver wire works

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts concluded their preseason schedule on Thursday with a win against the Cincinnati Bengals, and now begins the process of cutting down to the 53-man roster. The process has changed a bit from previous years as there is no longer an initial cut to 75 players previous to the preseason finale.

This year teams are cutting straight from the 90-man roster to 53 ultimately in a 48-hour period.

NFL rules dictate teams must reduce their rosters to 53 players no later than 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. That means a lot of talent will be available over the next 24 hours. The new rule means theoretically 1,185 players are going to be released between the final preseason game and the Saturday afternoon deadline.

The Colts are in the midst of a major roster reconfiguration, which means a lot of veterans and rookies are scrambling for jobs. The Colts have a ton of questions on their roster and will likely have some interest in a few castoffs from other teams. A trade somehow, somewhere is still on the table for a player who may not be cut that Chris Ballard deems to be necessary if he can get them at a reasonable price, but the primary method of acquiring players this weekend is the waiver process.

Here’s what you need to know about the waiver process.

When a team releases a player with less than four years of service, they are subject to the waiver process. Normally when a player is released, waivers run the next day. For roster cuts, all players run through waivers on Sunday, whether they were released on Friday or Saturday.

The process involves a priority list ranking teams for claiming players. From the first day of the league year until the conclusion of Week 3 of the 2017 regular season, the priority is based on draft order. This means that the Cleveland Browns are the No. 1 team on the waiver priority list and so on and so forth. This means that if the Colts want to take a shot on a young player, they have to put a claim in on him, and then cross their fingers and hope that the first 14 teams who drafted ahead of them do not put in a claim.

You might be used to the waiver process in your fantasy football league. The NFL waiver process is different in that the No. 1 team can claim as many players from waivers as they want, and they retain priority. The Browns essentially get first dibs on every player. They will stay in that position through Week 3 of the regular season.

Any player, with at least four years of service, who is released is not subject to the waiver process. They immediately become free agents and can sign with any team.

The Colt have used the waiver wire in the past, and recently at that. Henry Krieger-Coble was claimed off of waivers from the Denver Broncos during training camp, Tyvis Powell, from the Cleveland Browns and just for another, T.Y. McGill was claimed from Seattle at the beginning of the regular season in 2015.

We’ll be keeping an eye on roster cuts over the next day. The 53-man rosters will be reached by then, but then there will be likely be even further turnover as Chris Ballard stated in his presser at the scouting combine that “early September” is one of the best times to improve your roster.