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

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 their roster cuts all finalized on Saturday, getting down to the 53-man roster limit. They now send a host of players to waivers, and then potentially 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. Now that the preliminary 53-man roster is set, I thought I would provide a full rundown of practice squad rules. This will also include a list of practice squad eligible players the team released as part of roster cuts.

How many players on the practice squad?

10 - It was previously 8, but in 2014, the NFL changed it to 10 for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. This offseason they extended the rule.

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 4 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 is a list of players the 49ers cut on Saturday. They will likely sign one or more players to the practice squad from other teams cuts, but for now, here’s what we’ve got.


OL Alex Balducci
WR Devon Cajuste
DL Demetrius Cherry
OL Fahn Cooper
QB Jeff Driskel
CB Prince Charles Iworah
OL Norman Price
RB Kelvin Taylor
WR Bryce Treggs

1st year

DT BJ McBryde
OLB Marcus Rush
WR DeAndre Smelter
DT Garrison Smith

2nd year

WR Dres Anderson
TE Je’Ron Hamm
OT Colin Kelly
ILB Shayne Skov
WR DeAndrew White


Players on the practice squad can earn a minimum of $6,900 per week in 2016. 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.


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.