NFL Practice Squad: Salary, rules, player eligibility and predictions

Peter Aiken

We break down the rules and regulations surrounding the 49ers potential practice squad. We also look at who is eligible.

The 49ers will make final roster cuts between now and 3 p.m. PT on Saturday. The next step after making those cuts is scanning the waiver wire, and then putting together an eight-man practice squad.

When the 49ers make their final cuts, all non-vested players (under four years of service time) run through waivers. Teams have until 9 a.m. PT on Sunday, September 1, 2013 to submit claims for players. The waiver order is based on draft order through I believe the first six weeks of the season.

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.

Eligible Players

We've got a rundown of the rules about eligibility at the bottom of the page, but the important part is who is eligible. Here is a rundown by position. I've left Lawrence Okoye and Lamar Divens on the list because they are on IR and can still get an injury settlement.

QB
B.J. Daniels

RB
Jewel Hampton
LaMichael James

FB
Jason Schepler

WR
Chuck Jacobs
Quinton Patton

TE
MarQueis Gray
Vance McDonald

OL
Carter Bykowski
Joe Looney
Patrick Omameh
Wayne Tribue
Kenny Wiggins

DL
Lamar Divens
Tony Jerod-Eddie
Lawrence Okoye
Mike Purcell
Ian Williams

OLB
Cam Johnson
Travis Johnson
Corey Lemonier

ILB
Joe Holland
Nick Moody
Nate Stupar
Michael Wilhoite

CB
Marcus Cooper
Darryl Morris

S
Eric Reid
Trenton Robinson
Michael Thomas

LS
Kevin McDermott

Predictions

I'll come up with more predictions after final roster cuts, but for now, my guess on the practice squad would include:

WR Chuck Jacobs
RB Jewel Hampton
OT Carter Bykowski
OG Wayne Tribue
TE MarQueis Gray
CB Marcus Cooper
CB Darryl Morris
LB Travis Johnson

I think Lawrence Okoye eventually ends up on the practice squad, but he is not eligible yet. If he gets an injury settlement, he cannot sign with the team until the settlement time + 6 weeks.

Rules

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.

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