clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Practice Squad 2017 Primer: Rules, Eligibility, Salary, Size, More

How does the practice squad work? Here’s how

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at New York Giants William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Beginning at 1 p.m. ET Sunday the New York Giants, and the other 31 NFL teams, can begin to set practice. That’s an hour after players who are subject to waivers go unclaimed.

How does an NFL practice squad work? Who is eligible? How much money do they make? Can you prevent practice squad players from signing with other teams?

Those questions always come up at this time of year, with Saturday being the day NFL teams including the New York Giants must cut their rosters to 53 players. Players who are cut on Saturday must pass through waivers, which expire at noon ET on Sunday. Unclaimed players who are practice squad eligible can be signed to practice squads beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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 $7,200 for every week he is on a practice squad. That equals $122,400 if 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 $7,200 weekly minimum, but those salaries do count against the salary cap.