clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Practice Squad: Eligibility, salary, rules, roster cuts, waiver wire, and more

Here’s how the NFL practice squad works.

NFL: New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles officially announced their 2018 NFL roster cuts on Saturday to get down to the regular season 53-man limit. Roster transactions aren’t necessarily done yet, however. In addition to the NFL waiver wire, the Eagles can also still build a 10-man practice squad starting at 1:00 PM ES today on Sunday, September 2.

In simple terms, the practice squad consists of 10 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. First, it helps teams hold onto developmental players with upside who aren’t quite yet deserving of a spot on the 53-man roster. Second, it provides the team with extra bodies in practice. That can come in handy when injuries become a problem.

Read on for complete details about the NFL practice squad.

Practice squad salary

Practice squad players earn a minimum of $7,600 per week, which totals $129,200 for all 17 weeks of the regular season. Note that there is no maximum practice squad salary. A team can pay a practice squad player however much they want to entice the player to stay on their practice squad. Practice squad salaries do count against a team’s cap space, however.

Eligibility

In short, all rookies (draft picks or undrafted) have practice squad eligibility. So do most other young players.

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to some practice squads eligibility changes a few years ago in order to make the rules more inclusive.

First, a player must have a minimum of six games – up from the current three games – on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player’s three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.

Second, each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.

All other practice squad rules under Article 33 of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in effect during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

(Article 33: 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 Accrued 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.)

Who will be on the Eagles practice squad?

The Eagles’ practice squad will mostly consist of young players they released yesterday. A few spots might be used on players from other rosters.

Guessing what the Eagles’ 10-man practice squad:

QB Christian Hackenberg, RB Josh Adams, WR Rashard Davis, TE Billy Brown, OL Darrell Greene, DE Danny Ezechukwu, DT Aziz Shittu, LB Kyle Wilson, CB Chandon Sullivan, S Jeremy Reaves

Some of these players might be claimed on waivers before the Eagles can sign them back to their practice squad. Something to keep an eye on.

Practice squad rules

  • Each NFL team can have up to ten players on their practice squad.
  • Practice squad players only practice with the team. They do not play in games or count against the active 53-man roster.
  • Not all players are eligible to be signed to NFL practice squads.
  • Practice squad players are paid per week and can be released at any point during the season.
  • Practice squad players are free to sign with other NFL teams, assuming they are signed to the 53-man active roster. A practice squad player cannot be signed to another practice squad unless he is first released.
  • A practice squad player can not sign with their team’s upcoming opponent, unless they do so six days before the upcoming game or 10 days if their team is currently on a bye week.
  • If a practice squad player is signed to the active roster, they will receive a minimum of three paychecks, even if they are released before spending three weeks with the team. Their roster spot will also count against the 53 for three weeks even if they’re released before then.
  • In order to be signed to a practice squad after being released, a player must first clear through waivers.