Training Camp is starting this week which means 90 players will be fighting to fill 53 spots on every NFL team's roster. But there is another roster that is available to players who do not make the final cuts after the last whistle blows in the last preseason game. NFL teams can sign up to 8 players to their practice squad after their final 53-man rosters are set before Week 1.
There is a set of rules in place to limit the amount of time a player can be on a practice squad, and the length of time that a team must keep a practice squad player after they sign him. Practice squad players can be signed to their team's 53-man roster at any time, but another team can also sign them to their main roster.
I have gone through the Redskins current 90-man roster and listed all of the players that still have practice squad eligibility. There are 32 players who can be cut by the team and then signed to the practice squad if they clear waivers. Eight of the 32 players were drafted this year, so they have a lower chance of being cut(at least in Rounds 2-5). Some of these guys are just camp fodder, but the majority of the Redskins practice squad will come from this list.
Practice squad basics
- Each NFL team can have up to eight players on their practice squad.
- Practice squad players ... practice with the team. They do not play in games.
- 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.
- In order to be signed to a practice squad after being released, a player must first clear through waivers.
Practice squads are considered to be for developmental purposes. Therefore, veterans are not eligible to be signed to the practice squad. In fact, players with more than one year of accrued NFL service are not eligible. Here is a closer look at the eligibility requirements.
- A player is eligible if he does not have an accrued season of NFL experience. Players gain an accrued season by being on the active roster for at least six games.
- If a player has one accrued season, they can still be practice squad eligible if they were on the 45-man active game day roster for less than nine regular season games.
- A player is deemed to have served a season on the practice squad if he remains on the practice squad for at least three weeks. Players are eligible to be on the practice squad for two seasons.
- Players can be eligible for a third practice squad season if their team maintains no less than 53 players on the active/inactive list at all times.
Practice squad players earn significantly less than players on the active roster, but they still take home a solid weekly paycheck. NFL practice squad players make a minimum of $6,000 per week they are on the practice squad. There is no limit to how much a team can pay a player on the practice squad. Some will offer a higher weekly salary in order to entice better players to sign, although the practice squad contracts do count against the salary cap.
In 2012, multiple teams were reportedly interested in signing OT Tom Compton from the Redskins practice squad during the season, which led to the Redskins increasing his salary and still keeping him on the PS.
He had repeatedly chosen to stay with the team because of his comfort with the coaching staff, but also because any team signing a player off another's practice squad has to keep that player for only three weeks.
"I just figured that it's something like three weeks and then they're allowed to release you, so then I'd be out of luck," Compton said.
Players on the practice squad make $96,900 a year, or $5,700 a week. Compton's contract, restructured after the most recent claim, will now pay him an annual value of $390,000, or roughly $22,950 a week through the remainder of the season.
Practice Squad Eligible Redskins Players:
Courtney Bridget Jr, CB
Lee Doss, WR
Cody Hoffman, WR
Rashad Lawrence, WR
Ross Madison, S
Silas Redd, RB
Rashad Ross, WR
Bryan Shepherd, DB
Robert Thomas, DT
Jerry Rice Jr., WR
Will Compton, ILB
Jeremy Kimbrough, ILB
Tevita Stevens, C
Nick Williams, WR
Chase Minnifield, CB
Trent Murphy, OLB
Morgan Moses, OT
Spencer Long, G
Bashaud Breeland, CB
Ryan Grant, WR
Lache Seastrunk, RB
Ted Bolser, TE
Zach Hocker, K
Brandon Jenkins, OLB(5 games active)
Phillip Thomas, S
Chris Thompson, RB(4 games active)
Free Agent Signings:
Blake Clingan, P
Akeem Davis, S
Stephen Campbell, FB/TE
Mike Caussin, TE(Added 7/21)
Peyton Thompson, CB
Gabe Miller, DE/TE
Doug Worthington, DE*
*Worthington is credited with two years on the practice squad, 2010 with the Bucs, and 2011 with the Redskins.
(A player is deemed to have served a season on the practice squad if he remains on the practice squad for at least three weeks. Players are eligible to be on the practice squad for two seasons.
Players can be eligible for a third practice squad season if their team maintains no less than 53 players on the active/inactive list at all times.)