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NFL announces new practice squad rules, expansion to 10 players

The NFL announced new practice squad rules. The changes include an expansion of the roster, as well as relaxed eligibility requirements.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL and the NFLPA have come to an agreement that will expand each team's practice squad from 8 players to 10 players. This change will take effect immediately and run through the 2015 season. The two sides will need to agree to an extension after that, otherwise the rules revert in 2016 to the previous 8 player rule.

There were some other adjustments to the practice squad rules, expanding eligibility:

1. A player must have a minimum of six games on a practice squad for it to count as one of the player's permissible three seasons of Practice Squad service. The rule previously was 3 games.

2. 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. Previously, a player could have no more than one accrued season. Absent this exception, a player who has earned 1 or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club's 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.

Prior to these rule changes, the following players were eligible for the practice squad:

Rookies

CB Kenneth Acker
LB Chris Borland
TE Asante Cleveland
WR Bruce Ellington
OL Dillon Farrell
TE Kevin Greene
RB Carlos Hyde
CB Dontae Johnson
LB Aaron Lynch
Marcus Martin
S James McCray
FB Trey Millard
DT Kaleb Ramsey
CB Keith Reaser
LB Shayne Skov
OG Brandon Thomas
DB Jimmie Ward
WR L'Damian Washington
RB Glenn Winston

1st year players

OT Carter Bykowski
DT Tank Carradine
WR Chuck Jacobs
RB Marcus Lattimore
WR Lance Lewis
OL Al Netter
DT Mike Purcell
Colton Schmidt
LB Chase Thomas

2nd year players

D.J. Campbell
TE Derek Carrier
DT Quinton Dial
RB Jewel Hampton
LB Nick Moody
DT Lawrence Okoye
OG Ryan Seymour

3rd year players

QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson
WR Devon Wylie

I have emailed the NFLPA to get a better handle on what this means for additionally eligible players. If I'm reading the first sentence of that second eligibility change correctly, that would mean anybody drafted in 2012 and 2013 (or signed as a UDFA) is eligible for the practice squad. That would mean 2013 rookies like Darryl Morris, Tank Carradine, Corey Lemonier, Kevin McDermott, Vance McDonald, Nick Moody, Quinton Patton, and Eric Reid technically all would be eligible for the practice squad. Additionally, 2012 rookies like Jonathan Martin and Joe Looney would be eligible.

I'm not positive about this, and will update once I hear more. For most of those players, it would have no bearing because they will be on the 53-man roster. If this is correct, one guy that could be impacted is cornerback Darryl Morris. He was active for 13 games last season, which would make him ineligible under the previous rules. If my assessment above is correct, he would now be practice squad eligible. Again, I do not know this for certain.

Apparently, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti had an interesting suggestion:

That would be a pretty fascinating option. The NFLPA would definitely need to get some additional pay for protected draft picks, but it would help teams that do a good job developing talent. I won't say that it's unfair the 49ers can't keep all their players, but I wouldn't mind a reward for having a smart front office. And this ten man squad will help a little bit. It is not quite as much as being able to protect picks, but it rewards teams that have an eye for a diamond in the rough.