Saw a tweet from Adam Shefter, an ESPN NFL Insider, regarding Peyton Manning being released:

Still no NFL waiver wire, so any team reaching out to Peyton Manning now would be violating the rules.

What "official wire" is Adam Shefter, or any team or agent, actually looking at to know whether or not a player's release is official? An email? A fax? An NFL "tweet"?

  • 1
    What official answer are you actually looking for?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Mar 7, 2012 at 22:01

2 Answers 2


It appears that Peyton Manning was not actually "waived" but "released".

According to the NFL CBA, once a player has completed his fourth year in the league, he is no longer eligible to be placed on waivers and is instead released as an unrestricted free-agent and can be signed by any club at any time.

Whenever a player who has finished the season in which his fourth year of credited service has been earned under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Plan is placed on waivers between February 1 and the trading deadline, his contract will be considered terminated and the player will be completely free at any time thereafter to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with any Club[...]

As far as what it takes to make a "waive" or "release" official:

  • First, the team must notify the player:

Section 4. Notice of Termination: The Notice of Termination form attached hereto as Appendix H will be used by all Clubs. If possible, the Notice of Termination will be personally delivered to the player prior to his departure from the team. If the Notice of Termination has not been personally delivered to the player prior to his departure from the team, the Notice of Termination will be sent to him by certified mail at his last address on file with the Club.

  • Then, the team must notify the NFL and the NFL must notify the NFLPA by noon the next day:

The NFL shall inform the NFLPA of player personnel transactions communicated in the Personnel Notice between the NFL and its member Clubs concerning the termination or trading of players including awards on waivers, termination through waivers, confirmation of trades or any change in the status of players (e.g., placed on Reselve Injured, etc.). The NFL will make best efforts to communicate the information referred to in this Article to the NFLPA on the same day, but in no event later than noon on the next day.

It is my assumption that the "waiver wire" that is referred to by Adam Schefter and other NFL writers is just their term for the communication that happens between NFL and the NFLPA, et al. Which is to say, the communication from the NFL that the player has been cut. So, if the Indianapolis Colts have already filed the appropriate paperwork with Peyton Manning and the appropriate league offices, the latest that he should be available to be contacted by other teams would be tomorrow at noon.

  • 2
    @JW01 haha, go ahead and answer, maybe you will provide a different perspective and the more applicable one can be voted up/accepted :) Mar 7, 2012 at 23:52
  • 1
    done - I did point to your answer since you have the info from the CBA.
    – JW8
    Mar 8, 2012 at 0:51

This article defines the waiver wire as a process:

The NFL's waiver wire process applies to players who have less than four seasons of league experience and are released from any of the league's 32 teams. Once a player with less than four seasons of league experience is cut or released from a team, the other 31 teams are given the chance to claim the player from the waiver wire. A team that claims a player from the waiver wire assumes the terms of the original contract agreed upon between the player and the team that released him.

According to this blog post:

Players that have less than four years of experience are “waived” — meaning a player has to clear the NFL waiver wire before becoming a free agent. When a player is placed on waivers, the other 31 teams have a day to place a claim on him. The team with the highest spot in the waiver order is then awarded that player. If no team makes a claim, that player is then a free agent and can sign with any team.


Players with more than four years experience are considered vested veterans, so at least through midseason, they are not subject to the waiver process. As soon as his release paperwork clears, he is free to sign with another team. This is why, when the Broncos made their cuts today, six of the seven players were designated as “waived.” Only Nate Jones, in his eighth season, was formally released.

Since Manning has more than four years of experience and therefore vested, the waiver rules don't apply to him. His release is considered "official" once the associated paperwork clears the process mentioned in Marcus Swope's post.

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