The trade deadline has come and gone. And that has meaning beyond the fact that players no longer can be traded from one team to another.
After the trade deadline, all players who are released by their current teams must pass through waivers.
Before the trade deadline, any player with four or more years of service becomes a free agent the moment he’s released, giving him the privilege of picking his next team. After the trade deadline, every team has a crack at claiming his contract.
For example, if the Falcons later decide to give Gonzalez a chance to join a contender, teams like the Bucs and Jags would have dibs on him.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 30, 2013