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NFL Practice Squad Rules, Salary, and Eligibility

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The Redskins can form their practice squad today at 1pm

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Redskins cut their roster down to 53 players yesterday, but there are still roster moves to be made.  The NFL waiver wire for yesterday's cuts runs until 12 pm today, and then teams can start forming their 10-player practice squads.  The Redskins are 5th in the waiver order, and could claim a player or two, which would mean one or two more cuts.  Also, Bashaud Breeland is suspended for Week 1, and their will have to be another player released when he is reinstated for Week 2.

The Redskins can begin forming their practice squad at 1 pm, an hour after the waiver period ends.  Several of the Redskins roster cuts from yesterday are reportedly on the team's practice squad radar.  Those players are WR Reggie Bell, TE Je'Ron Hamm, OT Takoby Cofield, ILB Terrance Plummer, OLB Houston Bates, and CB/WR Quinton Dunbar. The Redskins will be making several roster moves today, and there could be some interesting names from around the league on the team, and the practice squad.

Last year the NFL and NFLPA agreed to a new set of rules for practice squads that went into effect in 2014 and continued this year on a trial basis. Teams gain an additional two slots, and the eligibility for those spots is drastically different from the previous requirements.

NFL Collective bargaining Agreement(Page 160)

Practice squad basics(Old rules)

  • 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.

Eligibility

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.

Salary

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 $6,300 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.

New Practice Squad Rules(2 spots):

Criteria for practice squad eligibility has been expanded in two categories. A player must have a minimum of six games on a practice squad - increased from the previous three games - for that year to count as one of three permissible seasons on the squad. And each team now can sign a maximum of two practice squad players who have earned no more than two NFL seasons toward free agency. Aside from that exception, a player with one or more accrued seasons can't go on a practice squad unless he spent fewer than nine games on a club's 46-player active list in each of his pro seasons.