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Cincinnati Bengals practice squad preview and prediction

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We take a look at a few questions about the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad -- a unit of 10 players that Cincinnati can pocket into their "scout team". Along with the questions, we point out who is eligible, predict a possible practice squad unit and present the rules of the practice squad.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

COULD THE BENGALS GO WITH A QUARTERBACK?
Tyler Wilson, the quarterback that Cincinnati released on Friday, is out there. Matt Scott, anyone? However, per the mothership, don't expect a quarterback... at least right now. If you're wondering about A.J. McCarron, he's currently on the team's Reserve/NFI list and will remain there for at least six weeks -- and maybe another three weeks after that. If Cincinnati wants to put him on the practice squad at that point, they need to waive him, watch him clear waivers and re-sign him to the team's practice squad. However, we're expecting him to go on season-ending IR when the mandated deadline forces Cincinnati to make a decision.

THE NOTABLE NAMES THAT COULD RETURN
Defensive tackle Devon Still and wide receiver Cobi Hamilton are talented enough that they could warrant attention from other teams. Still has the talent-set of a second-rounder and Hamilton, despite poor preseason game tape, could thrive with the proper development and opportunity -- with A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham, Hamilton is nothing more than special teams fodder in Cincinnati. However, if Still and Hamilton clear waivers, we expect the Bengals to make a pitch.

WHO ARE ELIGIBLE?
All of the players that Cincinnati placed on waivers Saturday are, including three that were waived on Friday. They are: H-back Orson Charles, OT Dan France, WR Cobi Hamilton, CB Victor Hampton, DT David King, WR Colin Lockett, CB Onterio McCalebb, DE Dontay Moch, DE Sam Montgomery, C Trevor Robinson, DT Devon Still, FB Nikita Whitlock, HB James Wilder Jr, QB Tyler Wilson, LB Brandon Joiner, DT LaKendrick Ross

If players were released or waived before this weekend, most likely the team won't like them enough for practice squad invitations.

ANY PREDICTIONS?
Assuming they clear waivers, then:

  • WR Cobi Hamilton
  • DT Devon Still
  • CB Victor Hampton
  • WR Colin Lockett
  • DT David King (or LaKendrick Ross)
  • RB James Wilder JR.
  • CB Onterio McCalebb
  • DE Dontay Moch
  • FB Nikita Whitlock (or Orson Charles)
  • C Trevor Robinson (or Dan France)
I picked Robinson due to his experience as an interior offensive linemen and Cincinnati needs at least someone on the offensive line. That could be an argument made for Dan France as well. He plays offensive tackle and would be an insurance policy in case Cincinnati has an unfortunate run of injury there. Whitlock over Charles might be a stretch. You have to remember this about predictions: It's not about our interpretations or observations. It's about the coach's preference of a players and their player's personalities, as well as favoritism and relationships. Also, it seemed to me that the team liked David King more than LaKendrick Ross... but that could go either way (in case you haven't noticed... I'm not really worried about being right).

Not that we have anything against him, but what about Onterrio McCalebb? Is Flash (or Speed Racer) ever going to translate into something productive on the 53-man roster? Or is he a practice squad lifer, wasting away possible development for another player? If there's no meaningful conclusion here, move on.

WHAT ARE THE RULES
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 $6,300 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.