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We Talkin 'Bout Practice Squad

WR Russell Shepard, among other cut players, could find their way onto the Eagles practice squad.

Russell Shepard
Russell Shepard

As of 11 AM today (September 1st, 2013) NFL teams can start to assemble their practice squads. "But what is the practice squad?" you may wonder. Well we've got you covered.

In a nutshell, the practice squad is 8 extra spots for players to practice with an NFL team but not participate in games. The practice squad is useful for a number of reasons. One, it helps teams hold onto raw players with upside who aren't quite yet deserving of a spot on the 53 man roster. Two, it provides the team with extra bodies in practice. This is especially useful for Chip Kelly who loves to practice at a quick pace. The more bodies the better.

The downfall of the practice squad (depending on your perspective) is that these players are considered free agents. Practice squad players can be signed away by any other NFL team at virtually any time under the stipulation that the signed player is placed on the new team's 53 man roster and guaranteed 3 weeks of pay. A player can't sign with his team's next opponent within 6 days of that week's game, however.

As for practice squad salary, the minimum is ~$6,000 per week, but there's no max. A team can pay a player whatever they like to entice him to be on their PS. However, those salaries do count against the cap.

Who's eligible who the practice squad? Per the official CBA:

The Practice Squad shall consist of the following players, provided that they have not served more than two previous seasons on a Practice Squad: (i) players who do not have an Accrued Season of NFL experience; and (ii) free agent players who were on the Active List for fewer than nine regular season games during their only Ac-crued Season(s). An otherwise eligible player may be a Practice Squad player for a third season only if the Club by which he is employed that season has at least 53 players on its Active/Inactive List during the entire period of his employment.

Thanks to NFL cap expert Sam Lynch (follow him on Twitter), here's a list of recent former/current Eagles with eligibility:

All drafted and undrafted rookies

Dennis Dixon
GJ Kinne
Chris Polk - Made the 53 man roster
Emil Igwenagu - Made the 53 man roster
Derek Carrier
Greg Salas
Jeff Maehl - Made the 53 man roster
Ifeanyi Momah
Julian Vandervelde - Made the 53 man roster
Vinny Curry - Made the 53 man roster
Clifton Geathers - Made the 53 man roster
Eddie McClam
Chris McCoy
Emmanuel Acho - Made the 53 man roster
Eddie Whitley

Here's a list of players who are NOT eligible:

Arrelious Benn
Damaris Johnson
Nick Miller
Dallas Reynolds
Matt Tennant
Danny Watkins
Dennis Kelly
Matt Kopa
Antonio Dixon
Everette Brown
Casey Matthews
Adrian Robinson
Curtis Marsh
Brandon Hughes
Trevard Lindley
David Sims

Thanks again to Sam for keeping this list updated. It's a great resouce and I recommend you check it every so often.

Some prime candidates on this list include: WR Russell Shepard, OT Michael Bamiro, OLB Chris McCoy, QB GJ Kinne, QB Dennis Dixon, and WR Ifeanyi Momah. This is assuming they clear waivers and no other team claims them.

Shepard impressed in the preseason and almost made the final roster. Bamiro is raw but has potential, and he's told reporters the Eagles would like to put him on their practice squad. McCoy looked like a lock to be on the final roster but was surprisingly cut. Maybe he can end up on the PS. GJ Kinne is the perfect practice squad QB because of his versatility - read more here. Dennis Dixon could also make sense as a PS QB. Lastly, Momah is an intriguing candidate because of his size despite an unimpressive preseason.

The Eagles can and probably will also look outside of their own former players to add to the practice squad.

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