The rules have changed for NFL practice squads, so there is some good information out there to know, but here are some highlights.
First, the league will now allow four players per practice squad to have two accrued seasons, making it easier for teams to have experienced players on their practice squad. In the previous agreement, only two players with two accrued seasons were allowed to be on a practice squad. An accrued season means a player was on full pay status for six or more regular-season games on a club's active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists
That means that Shaq Riddick is practice squad eligible, if the Arizona Cardinals so desire to keep him around.
Practice squad basics
- Each NFL team can have up to 10 players on its 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 (see new rules on eligibility above).
- 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, but they have to be signed to the 53-man active roster of the acquiring team. A practice squad player cannot be signed to another practice squad unless he is first released.
- A practice squad player can not sign with his team's upcoming opponent, unless he does so six days before the upcoming game or 10 days if his team is currently on a bye week.
- If a practice squad player is signed to the active roster, he will receive a minimum of three weekly paychecks, even if he is released before spending three weeks with the new team.
- In order to be signed to a practice squad after being released, a player must first clear waivers, and is subject to waiver claims by other teams
As far as waiver wires, check out this article for the entirety, but here are the nuts and bolts.
First, any player with less than four years of service is going through the waiver wire.
In the waiver process, there is a priority list as far as teams claiming players are concerned. As of now, and until the conclusion of Week 3 of the 2016 NFL season, that hierarchy is based on last year’s records. This means that the Tennessee Titans are the #1 team on the waiver priority list.
I think that means the Arizona Cardinals are at 30, but who knows with the Patriots, until week three.
Any player with four or greater years of service is free to sign with any team.