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NFL practice squad 2016 primer: Eligibility, rules, salary, more

What you need to know about practice squads

NFL: Preseason-New York Giants at Buffalo Bills Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a number of intriguing young players hoping to find spots on the team’s 53-man roster. They can’t possibly keep them all. Some may end up on other teams, while many should wind up on the team’s practice squad.

NFL teams can begin assembling a 10-man practice squad as of 1 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon. Not every player is eligible for a spot on a practice squad, so let’s go over some of the rules that govern this group of players.

The basics

  • Teams can sign 10 eligible players to their practice squad. These players practice, but do not play in games.
  • Four of the 10 players on the practice squad can have two accrued seasons in the NFL. This is a change from previous years, when only two players could have accrued seasons. An accrued season means a player was on a team’s 53-man roster, IR or PUP lists for at least six weeks.
  • A player must pass through waivers, meaning he can be signed to the active roster of another team, before being added to a practice squad. The waiver period for players cut Saturday ends at noon ET on Sunday.
  • Practice squad players are free agents who can be signed by other NFL teams. If a player is signed from a practice squad, however, he must be added to the signing team’s 53-man roster.
  • A practice squad player will make a minimum of $6,900 for every week he is on a practice squad. That equals $117,300 is a player remains on a practice squad for 17 weeks, more if his team reaches the playoffs. Teams can choose to pay practice squad players more than the $6,900 weekly minimum, but those salaries do count against the salary cap.

A note about Anthony Dable

It has been reported that the Giants, should they choose to sign the French wide receiver to their practice squad, would receive a roster exemption allowing them to keep an 11th international player. James Kratch of NJ Advance Media is now reporting that is not the case. Great work from Kratch, and important to know if the Giants do not keep Dable on the 53-man roster.