Today marks the start of the "waiver system" in the NFL and here is a quick primer on what that means and how it affects the New England Patriots:
This is the first day since the 2013 regular season ended that teams can waive players. Players with fewer than four accrued seasons are subject to the waiver system, and if the Patriots are interested in placing a claim, they would be 29th in the 32-team order. Players with four or more accrued seasons that are released immediately become unrestricted free agents.
The team has had some success in this area, most recently with rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones in September.
When the Texans initially waived Jones, the Patriots put in a claim but were trumped by the Buccaneers, who had priority in the claiming order. But when the Buccaneers quickly waived Jones, the Patriots put in another claim (Sept. 11) and landed Jones, who ended up leading all New England defensive tackles in snaps played in 2013.
Linebacker Chris White, a core special-teamer, is another player who arrived last September via a waiver claim.
The Patriots have also used the waiver wire to pluck players they deem worthy of development, either on the back end of the 53-man roster or practice squad; that group includes offensive linemen Chris Barker and Braxston Cave.