Introducing… The 2018 NFL Disaster Draft

How many people out there know the rules for an NFL Disaster Draft? How many people even know what a disaster draft even is? In short, if a team is incapacitated through the death, dismemberment or infirmity of their team, the NFL allows for a disaster draft to supplement or otherwise rebuild their rosters. In this simulation, we will see who ends up being saved from each roster around the NFL, and who ends up forming the replacement squad for teams lost in the Bermuda Triangle. In order to be thorough and to not put any bad vibes into the world, two hypothetical franchises will be the victims of alien abduction: The Mexico City Conquistadors and the St. Louis Arches. Both teams were set to start the 2018 season as expansion franchises but were suddenly sucked into space, never to be seen again.

In the case of a disaster such as this, the league institutes a “disaster draft.” If fifteen or fewer players are lost, then the team only receives preferential waiver treatment. More than fifteen, and the league triggers a disaster draft. I would say that having your entire roster taken to Omicron Persei 8 constitutes a disaster. But you may be asking yourself: how is this different than an expansion draft?

Well, in an expansion draft, the teams designate five players to choose from, and the disaster-inflicted squad selects from those players. They receive no draft compensation for their losses, and they generally build half a roster or so. The Texans, in the most recent expansion draft (2002), took nineteen players. In short: they got bad contracts off the books for teams. Now the disaster draft, that’s completely different, and far more fun.

In a disaster draft (I am assuming full disaster, wherein the entire team is lost), the commissioner decides if they will cancel the rest of their season. If that occurs, then the rest of the league protects 32 players per team, the squad who lost their players gets to select from the unprotected, and they get the first pick in the upcoming NFL draft. This isn’t going to be a by-those-numbers disaster draft, however.

Two teams are going to need to be rebuilt, so Terran Empire Roj Goodell tweaked the disaster draft. First, teams will not retain any of their free agents. Every UFA (Unrestricted Free Agent), RFA (Restricted Free Agent), ERFA (Exclusive Rights Free Agent) and TFA (The Force Awakens) is immediately released to the free agency pool, and teams cannot sign a player until the disaster draft is completed. Teams will also only be able to retain sixteen players instead of the normal thirty-two. Why? Because it’s spicier, and producing a 30+ part disaster draft series that ends up with teams deciding between Laken Tomlinson (RG) or Michael Wilhoite (LB) would probably end with me running off into the hills to never be seen or heard from again.

This multi-part piece will outline, team-by-team, the players that will be kept, and who will be left to the disaster draft. For the sake of fairness, I flipped a coin. The Mexico City Conquistadors will get the first pick in the disaster draft, and the St. Louis Arches will get the first of the first two 2018 NFL picks. After outlining who will be protected, the final part is putting the disaster draft together. We’ll go alphabetically, so we can get started with the Arizona Cardinals.

Teams so far:
Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons
Baltimore Ravens
Buffalo Bills
Carolina Panthers
Chicago Bears
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Dallas Cowboys
Denver Broncos
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Rams
Miami Dolphins
Minnesota Vikings
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
New York Jets
Oakland Raiders
Philadelphia Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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