Free-Agent “Place Holders”

As draft choices are signed and mini-camps have come to an end, players should begin getting nervous as teams continue signing draft choices.  Draft choice selections fall into the “reserve” category until they are signed by their respective teams.  There is an 80-man roster limit in the off-season and teams cannot have more than that number of players on the roster at any given time, unless they are in a reserve category.  This means that when a team selects its draft choices, the draft choices do not immediately count against this imposed roster limit. 

This is where free agents come into play. The free agent is often times a “place holder” until the team starts signing its draft choices. Coaches often want as many players on the field as possible in order to get more on-field work accomplished. Former Washington Redskins Head Coach Joe Gibbs (in his first tenure) was notorious for having as many players as he could before the 80-man roster limit was imposed. Often times, signing an extra punter, defensive end, or quarterback allows for a veteran player to get some extra rest in the off-season. Over the next few weeks as you see draft selections being singed, you will simultaneously see players released on the same press release.

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