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NFL Practice Squad Rules

Cut days are looming for the Titans and every team in the NFL (the roster will be cut from 80 to 75 on August 31st and down to 53 on September 4th), so the subject of the practice squad is bound to come up. After the jump I have posted everything you need to know about an NFL practice squad (thanks to our friends at Arrowhead Pride).

The Titans will be able to keep 8 guys on the practice squad that will not count against the 53 man active roster. Those players must clear waivers, which can make it tricky with a guy that they want to develop but are afraid another team might gobble up if he is out there.

Click through the jump for more info.

NFL Practice Squad Eligibility

Once September 4th passes, NFL teams will have the the option of placing 8 players on a practice only team. These players do not count towards the 53-man roster and are generally made up of college free agents and other borderline NFL players.

Since 2004, the NFL has had an international player practice squad spot for rotating teams. It allowed one non-US or non-Canadian born player to take up a ninth practice squad spot.

To makes things easier to explain, players who are eligible for the practice squad:

  • Have no prior Accrued Seasons in the NFL (An accrued season is six or more games on the active roster);
  • Have one prior Accrued Season in which the player was on the 45-man active roster for no more than 8 games; and,
  • Have been on the practice squad with a particular team no more than 2 prior seasons unless the team never had their active roster go below 53 players during the two years the player served on the practice squad. If that is the case, the player is eligible for a third practice squad season.
This is where it gets a bit confusing. A player with an accrued NFL season (6 or more games) isn't eligible for the practice squad but a player who played in fewer than 9 games is still eligible? Yeah, it's a bit confusing.

NFL Practice Squad Minimum Salary

This is pretty straightforward. NFL practice squad players are paid $5,200 a week minimum but teams may choose to pay them more if they'd like. This doesn't usually happen. The players will also get small signing bonuses, usually in the area of a couple thousand bucks.

NFL Practice Squad Rules

There are some important things to know about practice squad players during the NFL regular season so I'm just going to list them:

  • Practice squad players are always free agents, meaning any NFL team can sign them away from another team. The catch with this? A team can't sign a player one week before they play that team and the team that signs a practice squad player must count that player against their 53-man active roster for at least three weeks, bye weeks included. This is even if the player is released after one week - they still count as a spot on the roster.
  • Players that are promoted internally from the practice squad to the active roster must remain there for three weeks and get paid the minimum salary for their status (rookie or veteran). If they are let go for some reason before the three weeks are up, they are still paid for those three full weeks.