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2016 NFL Practice Squad Rules, Eligibility, Salary and Size

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What’s up with the practice squad rules this year?

NFL: Preseason-New York Jets at Washington Redskins Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It’s roster cutdown day, and every team in the NFL has to get to 53 players by 4pm today. The Redskins will be cutting some players today that would have definitely made the team in previous years. Some players could get picked up by other teams, or signed to other practice squads. The team will usually inform a player of their intentions to sign them to the practice squad when they are released, and several reports have already come out about potential signings this year.

The rules for NFL practice squads have changed over the past few years, expanding the number from 8 to 10, allowing 2 players with 2 years experience to be signed, and then expanding that number to 4 players.

Also, a player must now 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.

Practice squad basics
  • Each NFL team can have up to 10 players on its 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, but they have to be signed to the 53-man active roster of the acquiring team. A practice squad player cannot be signed to another practice squad unless he is first released.
  • A practice squad player can not sign with his team's upcoming opponent, unless he does so six days before the upcoming game or 10 days if his team is currently on a bye week.
  • If a practice squad player is signed to the active roster, he will receive a minimum of three weekly paychecks, even if he is released before spending three weeks with the new team.
  • In order to be signed to a practice squad after being released, a player must first clear waivers, and is subject to waiver claims by other teams
Salary

NFL practice squad players make a minimum of $6,900 per week that they are on the practice squad.

If a player remains on the practice squad for an entire regular season (at a minimum salary of $6,900 per week), he would earn a minimum of $117,300 over the full regular season if he keeps his spot on the practice squad. If a team makes the playoffs, these payments continue for as long as the team is in the playoffs.

Practice squad players can be paid any amount by teams as an incentive to not sign to another team’s roster. The contracts do count towards the team’s salary cap

(h/t Behind the Steel Curtain)

Players the Redskins reportedly want for practice squad:

OL Isaiah Williams

DL Matt Ioannidis

WR Maurice Harris

RB Mack Brown

WR Kendal Thompson

OLB Lynden Trail

DL Corey Crawford

FB Joe Kerridge

OL Takoby Cofield