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NFL practice squad: Salary, rules and eligibility

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Since the Titans will begin filling out their practice squad soon, here's a closer look at how the process actually works.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans will look to fill out their practice squad this afternoon when players who were cut yesterday clear waivers.  The NFL tweaked the practice squad rules earlier this week.  First we will look at the traditional practice squad rules.  The specifics about the two new additions will be listed next.

Practice squad basics

  • Each NFL team can have up to ten players on their practice squad.
  • Practice squad players ... practice with the team. They do not play in games.
  • Not all players are eligible to be signed to NFL practice squads (more on that below).
  • 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 receiver 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 gameday 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 six weeks. Players are eligible to be on the practice squad for three 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 $6,000 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.

New Rules

The new rules are only for the 2 additional spots. Those players can have up to 32 games on an active roster in their first 2 years.  This new rule would allow the Titans to bring Colin Mooney back on the practice squad.  He would not have been eligible under the old rules because he has been on the active roster for too many games.