Now that NFL cuts are done and waiver claims are complete, the players who cleared waivers are still looking for work. Now the Arizona Cardinals are forming their 10-man practice squad. What are the rules? Here is a quick primer.
How many players on the practice squad?
10 - It was previously 8, but last year the NFL changed it to 10 for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. They will need to reach a subsequent agreement to keep these new rules in place.
How is a player eligible for the practice squad?
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;
- Each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of 2 Practice Squad players who have earned no more than 2 accrued seasons of free agency credit;
- 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.
- A player has served one season on the practice squad if he is on the practice squad for at least 6 games. The rule previously required 3 games on the practice squad roster.
Players on the practice squad can earn a minimum of $6,600 per week in 2015. Teams are allowed to pay a player a higher salary than the minimum, and this often happens if another team comes sniffing around a player. All practice squad salaries are counted under the team's salary cap.
While on a practice squad, a player is paid by that particular team. However, the player has the right to sign with another team's 53-man roster. The one exception to this is that the player may not sign a contract with his team's next opponent after 1 p.m. PT six days preceding the game (10 days preceding in bye weeks). A player cannot sign a practice squad contract with one team and then leave to sign a practice squad contract with another team, unless the first team has released said player.
If a player signs with another team's 53-man roster, or is promoted to his own team's 53-man roster, the player must be paid for at least 3 weeks of at least league minimum salary. They can be released before the 3 weeks is up, but they still have to be paid.
There is one exception to this called the Contagious Disease Addendum, which was first added in June 2010 in a side letter agreement to the last CBA. This states that if a player is promoted from the practice squad for a game because a club was given a roster exemption due to confirmed or suspected cases of contagious disease among its players, the player remains on his practice squad contract, but will be paid 1/17 of the league minimum salary. After the game he will be returned to the practice squad without having to clear waivers.