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Waiver Wire 2016: How it works, who’s eligible, how players are claimed from waivers

As NFL players with less than four years of experience are released from their teams, they’re subject to clearing waivers. Here’s how the waiver wire works and who’s eligible.

Indianapolis Colts v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Every Labor Day Weekend, hundreds of NFL player become unemployed and in need of a new job either in the NFL, or elsewhere. While some players get cut because of their ability, others simply aren't the right fit for the team they were with or are casualties of teams having depth at a position.

All players with less than four years of NFL experience who are cut by their team are subject to the waiver wire, a system used to award players to teams most in need of help. Here's how the waiver wire works and what to expect today as every player who was cut on Saturday (and subject to waivers) passes through the system — claimed and unclaimed.

MORE: Check out the Bengals’ 53 man roster and cuts here.

What is the waiver wire?

The waiver wire is a system that allows teams to submit a claim for a player who was cut by another NFL team. The waiver wire operates on a 24 hour basis during which teams can submit a claim following a player being cut. During the offseason, the waiver wire order is the same as the draft order. After Week 3 of the regular season, the order turns to the standings around the league as the team with the worst record gets first priority on the waiver wire.

Who is eligible for waivers?

A player with less than four years of NFL experience is considered waived when cut from an NFL team. The majority of players cut this weekend have less than four years in the NFL, so the options are plentiful. Of the Bengals cuts on Saturday, the following players will be subject to the waiver wire:

FB Andrew Bonnet (rookie, North Dakota State)

DE Ryan Brown (rookie, Mississippi State)

HB Tra Carson (rookie, Texas A&M)

C Alex Cooper (rookie, Houston)

DT David Dean (rookie, Virginia)

OT Aaron Epps (rookie, Louisville)

HB Bronson Hill (first-year player, Eastern Michigan)

CB Darius Hillary (rookie, Wisconsin)

G Trey Hopkins (second-year player, Texas)

WR Jake Kumerow (first-year player, Wisconsin-Whitewater)

TE Matt Lengel (first-year player, Eastern Kentucky)

CB Tony McRae (rookie, North Carolina A&T)

G Alex Redmond (rookie, UCLA)

WR Alonzo Russell (rookie, Toledo)

WR Rashaun Simonise (rookie, Calgary)

G Trip Thurman (rookie, Florida)

OT John Weidenaar (rookie, Montana State)

QB Keith Wenning (first-year player, Ball State)

What is the current waiver wire order?

The waiver wire order is currently the same as the draft order from this season. The team with the worst record in the league has the top priority while the team with the best has the lowest. The Bengals are 24th on the waiver wire (they had the 24th pick in the draft) and all teams ahead of them have the opportunity to claim players on the waiver wire before them.

What happens when a player isn't claimed by anyone?

When a player goes unclaimed on the waiver wire, he becomes a free agent. If a player cut by the Bengals passes through waivers unclaimed, the team could look to sign that player to the practice squad. All practice squad eligible players must go through waivers.

The practice squad can be created as of 1:00 p.m. ET today.

The Bengals can claim players, too.

Just as other teams may claim former Bengals, the Bengals may look to build depth at some of their weaker positions by claiming a player from another team. Be on the lookout for the Bengals to consider some of the available players on the waiver wire and the current free agent market, which consists of players with four or more years of NFL experience who weren't subject to the waiver wire.