The NFL Tuesday made official the expansion of practice squads from eight to 10 players. The league also loosened the eligibility rules for players who can fill practice squad slots. From the league:
First, a player must have a minimum of six games - up from the current three games - on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player's three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.
Second, each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one 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.
How might that impact the 53-man roster for the New York Giants?
Well, it appears to make players like cornerback Charles James (12 games in 2013), Michael Cox (14 games in 2013) and Larry Donnell (15 games in 2013) eligible for the practice squad when they previously would not have qualified. Adrien Robinson, who has dressed for just three games in two seasons, could also be eligible.
Think of the many players over the years who have contributed to the Giants after spending time on the practice. James and Donnell are among current Giants in that situation. Former Giants tight end Jake Ballard spent a season on the practice squad before becoming a starter. Wide receiver Marcus Harris, making a strong bid for a roster spot, was a practice squad member a season ago.
The move gives NFL teams a chance to develop more young players, and to have additional players available when the inevitable injuries occur.