Now that the 49ers have made their roster cuts, they have a couple of steps to deal with tomorrow morning. At 9:00 a.m. PT, all non-vested players (under four years of service time) will run through waivers. Teams can submit their claims for players in what I believe is reverse order of record. I am not positive, but I believe Indianapolis does have the first priority for placing a claim, and the 49ers are pretty far down. If waivers operates like it does in many fantasy leagues, once a team places a claim, they are moved to the back of the line. SB Nation has a story stream loaded with info on roster cuts.
Once waivers runs, anybody that is not claimed immediately becomes a free agent. They can then sign to a team's 53-man roster or sign to a practice squad. For most of the young guys clearing waivers tomorrow, they will end up on a practice squad or out of the league.
After the jump I've posted a rundown of all the eligible practice squad players that were released over the last week. That is followed by all the specifics about the practice squad including eligibility, salary and various applicable rules.
The reports around roster cuts included info that the 49ers were interested in signing certain players back to the practice squad if they cleared waivers. These included Michael Thomas, Michael Wilhoite and Al Netter among others. The 49ers do not have to completely fill out the eight man practice squad tomorrow.
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.
It's worth noting that a player will be considered to have served on a practice squad in a season if he were a member of a practice squad for three regular or postseason games during his first two practice squad seasons, or for one regular season or postseason game during a third practice squad season.
Players on the practice squad can earn a minimum of $5,700 per week in 2012. It is worth noting teams can pay a member of the practice squad anything above that amount but it appears as though it impacts the salary cap. For the 49ers that isn't really an issue whatever the rule is since they're so far under the cap at this point. Maybe that's why the 49ers have so much room. Ballin practice squad players!
It is also important to note that once a player signs with a practice squad, with one exception he can sign with another team's 53-man roster at any point during the season. The one exception is that practice squad players may not sign a contract with his team's next opponent after 4pm ET 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.
Finally, if a player is promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, that player must remain there for three weeks and get paid the minimum salary for their status. If they are let go before the three weeks, they still receive the three weeks pay.
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.