Caution June 1st approaching
May 31 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
The June first deadline is now only days away. The end of the NFL’s fiscal year, teams are permitted to release players prorating the player’s signing bonus over this year and next year instead of taking the cap hit all in one year. This formula usually creates a pool of talented free agents after this date.
While the 49ers are expected to release Jr Bryant and Ray Brown, they will also be bringing in many players for workouts, and following the salary demands of players in order to possibly find another solid player or too.
But there is a common misconception about this day. Many people believe that all of these players are released immediately at this date. That is not actually the case. Players will be released slowly from teams, as their future with any given team is decided.
Once a player is released, they will have to clear the waiver wire. This process essentially passes their name around from team to team (in an order created by the NFL based on win/loss record of the last season). If a team picks the player up off waiver, he does not become a free agent, unless that team later waives rights to him, and he does indeed finish clearing the waivers. A player being picked up off the waivers does not force him to negotiate with that team. He can indeed refuse to do so.