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NFL Practice Squad: Salary, rules, eligibility, 49ers roster cuts, and more

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We take a look at how the practice squad process works, and list out the eligibility requirements. We also have a list of eligible 49ers players.

The San Francisco 49ers made six roster cuts official on Friday, and will finalize their roster cuts on Saturday. That will get them down to the 53-man roster limit, and send a host of players to waivers and then the open market. Players with at least four years of service time are immediately free agents, while players with less than four years of accrued service time go through waivers.

Waivers will run Sunday morning, and after that, teams will begin signing players to their practice squad. We are still waiting on 49ers roster cuts, but in the meantime, I thought I would provide a full rundown of practice squad rules. This will also include a list of practice squad eligible players currently on the 49ers, as well as among recent cuts. I'll pin this at the top of the page as we get through roster cuts.

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.

What 49ers players are eligible for the practice squad?

This list includes players recently cut since the 49ers might very well bring them back to the practice squad. I've removed players that are locks to make the roster, or really, really close. I pondered leaving Mike Purcell on the list, but the release of Darnell Dockett seems to all but assure he makes the roster. A few more names will be removed when they make the roster, but I am going to wait for more word on them.

Rookies

K Corey Acosta
TE Busta Anderson
WR Issac Blakeney
OL Trent Brown
WR DiAndre Campbell
RB Jarryd Hayne
CB Mylan Hicks
WR Mario Hull
WR Nigel King
OL Patrick Miller
OLB Marcus Rush
OL Ian Silberman
QB Dylan Thompson
WR DeAndrew White
S Jermaine Whitehead

1st year players (previous season in NFL without accruing a season)

RB Kendall Gaskins
TE Xavier Grimble
FB Trey Millard
OL Justin Renfrow
ILB Shayne Skov
DT Garrison Smith

2nd year players

CB Marcus Cromartie
OL Jordan Devey
OL Dillon Farrell
WR Chuck Jacobs
DL Lawrence Okoye
DT Kaleb Ramsey

3rd year players

OL Andrew Tiller

Eligible players not listed: Kenneth Acker, Arik Armstead, Blake Bell, Tank Carradine, Mike Davis, Quinton Dial, Bruce Ellington, Eli Harold, Carlos Hyde, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Dontae Johnson, Corey Lemonier, Aaron Lynch, Marcus Martin, L.J. McCray, Vance McDonald, Nick Moody, Quinton Patton Bradley Pinion, Mike Purcell, Keith Reaser, Eric Reid, Jaquiski Tartt, Brandon Thomas, Jimmie Ward.

Salary

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.

Player rights

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.

Promotion

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.