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August 3, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Explaining the waived/injured process

In the wake of the decision by the Seahawks on Saturday to place offensive lineman Michael Bowie on the waived/injured list, it might be a good time to review how all of this works.

Bowie has what the team called a “significant” shoulder injury that will keep him out 4-6 months — essentially, the season.

Since Bowie is a second-year player, if Seattle wanted to move him off the 90-man roster and sign another player, it had to place him on the waived/injured list. By putting him on that list, it exposes the Seahawks to losing Bowie as any team can now pick him up — though at the same contract he is under with the Seahawks.

As is explained here, once a waived/injured player clears waivers (which is 24 hours), he then reverts to his team’s Injured Reserve list.

I’ve gotten questions about why Seattle would expose a player like Bowie, who was a key part of the team last year.

But the way the rules are written, Seattle had no other choice other than to keep Bowie on the 90-man roster until the first cutdown date, which this year is Aug. 26, when teams must pare their rosters to 75. That would mean having essentially an empty roster spot throughout the rest of the pre-season.

Why is explained here:

“Prior to the first cutdown date, injured players with less than 4 years of service cannot go onto IR until they pass through waivers.  Those players are released with the “waived/injured” designation.  Known as “injury waivers”, this process exposes the player to waivers, but warns other teams that the player is injured.  If the player clears injury waivers, the team can then either place the player on IR or agree to an injury settlement (paying the player for the weeks that he is expected to be recovering from his injury) and then release the player.”

Historically, there has been sort of a gentlemen’s agreement that players with the waived/injured designation are not picked up by other teams. But it does happen, and did as recently as this week when the Patriots snagged RB Tyler Gaffney away from the Panthers (good background on that here and here). As noted in those stories, anyone picking up a player off waived/injured has to then carry that player on the 90-man, or else go through the same process.

Seattle also put Jesse Williams on the waived/injured list, as well, and he passed through and is now on Seattle’s IR. That’s the expectation with Bowie, as well.

Seattle quickly used the roster spot opened up by the decision to put Bowie on waivers/injured by signing Cory Brandon, who had just been waived by the Cardinals.


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