As I have been reading various HH roster projections, I immediately think of the players below the cut and my mental shortcut is "well I guess player X will just be on the practice squad then". And then some other HH poster writes "no X is not eligible for the PS" and I wonder why. I went and read the CBA on this topic, and have a brief summary below the jump. Probably most of you know this stuff backwards and forwards, but for those who don't, read away.
Well first of all a confession. I actually did read the CBA and write my summary....then I compared it to that of others and it turns out that I had missed at least one minor point. But anywhere here it goes:
Free Agents: this is the part everyone knows, you can basically sign with any club (to their 53-man roster) at any time. PS players are treated as UDFA essentially if they are signed by their own team or other teams. So to take a ridiculous example if you draft a guy in the 1st round, put him on the PS for 20 seconds and then back on the active roster, all the rookie cap rules and stuff wouldn't apply to that player, only the rookie minimum salary stuff.
Eligibility: this is the complicated part of it.
Any player who has not had an Accrued Season can be on the practice squad. An accrued season is 6 or more games in one season either on the active/inactive (e.g., 53 man) roster, the PUP, or the IR. However there is an exception to this, which is that if you only have 1 Accrued Season, and during that season you were on the game-day active list 9 times or less (e.g., suited up 9 games or fewer), you are still eligible to be on the PS (that was the part I got confused about). So to take a ridiculous example, Jarvis Jenkins would be eligible for the PS this year despite his Accrued Year. Also I didn't bother to understand this fully but there is something about if you were only ever on the active roster as the designated 3rd QB (a designation that no longer exists), you have the same time of exception to be on the PS in the future. I guess maybe John Beck could have qualified for this exemption in 2011 or something.
You can basically be on the PS two years. They do not have to be consecutive. The exception is that you can stay for a third year if the 53-man roster was full for the entire time you were on the PS. Someone smarter than I can explain why this exception is relevant, I would assume that the 53 man roster was always full unless teams are lazy or something, or so cheap that they didn't want to elevate PS players to 53 man roster in the event of injury to one of the 53. I guess late in the season you would perhaps make that choice, but I still don't understand
The rest is boring: how much they get paid (something like $6K per week of pre-season and season, although you can pay them more as long as it is 'in the spirit' of some appendix to the CBA), how they can participate (practice only, duh), the international exemption (you can have an extra PS spot if it is someone from abroad, and they can't be cherry-picked by other teams).
So there you have it. My main conclusion from this exercise is that if anyone out there is having trouble sleeping at night, reading the CBA might be an idea to try out.
I am sure I missed stuff, feel free to add on what I did.