What is Christian Wade's roster situation?

Christian Wade
Photo credit Photo: Jeremy Brevard - USA TODAY Sports

Ever since Christian Wade’s 65-yard touchdown run on his very first NFL touch a couple weeks ago in the team’s first preseason game, Buffalo Bills fans have been asking questions about his roster status and future.

Then came another 48-yard catch and run this past Friday night against the Carolina Panthers, and the questions about the former UK rugby star really amped up.

Wade was allocated to the Bills as part of the NFL’s International Pathways Program, exempt from their 90-man roster during training camp and the preseason.  

Beyond that, here’s the situation with Wade, as clarified by the team on Monday:

Wade is eligible to make the Bills’ final 53-man roster at the end of the preseason. If he does, there is no roster exemption. He is one of the 53 players just like everyone else.


If Wade does not make the Bills' final 53-man roster:

  • He gets placed on waivers just like every other player with less than four-years service who is released. The waiver period lasts 24 hours. Wade can be claimed by another NFL team. That team would have to place him on their 53-man active roster immediately.


If he clears waivers and is not claimed by another team:

  • Wade is eligible to sign-on as one of 10 players on any team’s practice squad, including the Bills' practice squad. In that case, he would be eligible to be activated at any point during the season, or be signed by another club to their 53-man roster. All practice squad players in the league are essentially free agents, free to sign with any team, but must be placed immediate on that team’s 53-man roster if that happens. 
  • Wade can be signed to the Bills' practice squad as an 11th, roster-exempt player. If that happens, he is ineligible to be activated by the Bills for the the entire season, and also ineligible to sign with another team for the entire season.


In short, Wade is treated like any other player in the NFL right now, except for his current roster-exempt status with the Bills. He can make the team, be released, is subject to waivers, or can sign with any team’s practice squad. No different than any other player in the league with four years or less experience.  

The only difference occurs if/when he isn’t signed to a team’s 10-man practice squad. At that time, the Bills can sign him (if he chooses) to their practice squad as an 11th, roster-exempt member, making him ineligible to play in the NFL in 2019.  

Ultimately, Wade has a chance to find work and choose what his best option is before signing with the Bills as that 11th practice squad player.

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