Now that teams have set their 53-man roster after one of the biggest corporate layoffs in America, teams are filtering through the waiver wire hoping to further evolve their team. Once the waiver wire period is over, teams will begin signing eligible players to the practice squad -- in many cases, their own guys. Let's take a look at some of the rules and regulations that govern the practice squad in the NFL (post about eligible Bengals players is forthcoming).
In order to be eligible for the practice squad, players must meet one of the following requirements:
- 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;
- If served two seasons on a practice squad, are eligible for a third season only if the team has at least 53 players on its active/inactive list for the duration of that player's employment.
The minimum salary for a Practice Squad player will be $6,000 per week, including postseason weeks in which his club is in the playoffs.
If a player is promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, that player must remain there for three weeks while getting receiving the minimum salary. They will still receive three weeks pay, even if they are released prior to the third week.
Any player under contract to an organization as a practice squad player is free to negotiate and sign a player contract with any club at any time during the league year to serve on that team's 53-man roster. The one exception is that a practice squad player may not sign a player contract with his team's next opponent later than 4:00 p.m. on the sixth day preceding the game and tenth day during bye weeks.
There is one further exception contrary to the practice squad rules called the Contagious Disease Addendum, which was first added in June 2010 in a side letter agreement to the last CBA. If a player is elevated from Practice Squad to the 53-player Active/Inactive List for a game because a club was given roster exemptions due to confirmed or suspected cases of a contagious disease among its players, the player stays on his practice squad contract and after the game, he returns to the practice squad without having to clear waivers.