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Your 2022 Falcons roster cutdown and practice squad primer

Here’s what’s coming and what to expect.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Sometime in the next two days, the Falcons will make their roster cuts. They may do so in waves or all at once, but when the dust settles, we’ll have our initial 53 man roster for the Atlanta Falcons.

If you’ve forgotten how the process works or just need a quick refresher, well, that’s what this is here for. Join me as we look at the schedule for the days ahead.

Tuesday at 4 p.m.: Cutdown to 53 man roster and PUP/IR

Currently, Atlanta’s roster stands at 80 players, with the most recent move being the triumphant return of Tucker Fisk, who was swapped out for veteran offensive lineman Rick Leonard. By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, all teams are required to be down a 53 man roster, meaning Atlanta’s got 27 cuts to make.

A note: They have to cut down to a maximum roster of 53 players, but they can go lower. Given Atlanta’s stated interest in adding players other teams cut if the right options shake loose, they may actually cut a little deeper to have the space(s) readily available. That’s especially true because they may be placing a player or two on injured reserve or the physicall unable to perform list (more on both in a moment). Given how difficult many of these cutdown decisions seem likely to be, though, that’s just a possibility to be aware of, rather than a likelihood.

If Marlon Davidson and Dorian Etheridge have injuries that will linger into the season, Atlanta can place them on the injured reserve or physically unable to perform lists (IR/PUP). Both of those designations also mean the players placed on the lists do not count against the roster limit.

Wednesday at 12 p.m.: Waiver claims can be made/practice squad assembled

The Falcons will be very busy after they make their cuts, too. Atlanta’s depth along both lines seems unlikely to be considered final even after cuts, and a front office always in search of a way to effectively churn the bottom of the roster will likely be looking around for options.

Last year, you’ll recall, Atlanta claimed reserve offensive lineman Colby Gossett after the Browns waived him. It’s not only possible but likely that Atlanta will put in a claim if someone they like shakes loose, because they have the cap space to absorb a decent-sized contract and could certainly use more help.

There will be a 24 hour period before waivers are processed and players who go unclaimed will clear waivers, at which point Atlanta may make further additions instantly.

The team can also start assembling a practice squad on Wednesday. In 2022, the team will still have have a 16 player practice squad, with 10 of those players needing to have fewer than two accrued seasons of NFL playing experience and six of them potentially being veteran additions who can have any level of experience. That last bit is something to keep in mind for players like Qadree Ollison, Damiere Byrd, Nick Kwiatkoski, and so on who are potential cuts Atlanta may want to keep around.

Many of the tough borderline cuts will likely return to the initial version of the practice squad if other teams do not snap them up, as Atlanta brought 15 of their own players back a year ago as part of the first edition of the squad.

It won’t be final—Atlanta loves to tinker with the roster—but we’ll have the first version of this 2022 Falcons team and practice squad by later this week. This isn’t an easy time for players bracing for bad news or a front office that has to deliver it, but hopefully we’ll see quite a few of the reserves who helped this team look a lot better in preseason returning to the Falcons when the dust settles.