The rules surrounding NFL practice squads have recently undergone changes. Practice-squad rules become more team-friendly, and an increase in revenue has prompted higher salaries for the players. As NFL cut day approaches (rosters cut down to 53 players), let’s take a look at everything you need to know about NFL practice squads.
NFL Practice Squad Salaries
Unfortunately, it’s not a black-and-white answer for how much a practice-squad player is paid. The pay structure changes depending on tenure. There are levels and pay scales when you are a practice-squad player. Players with less than two accrued seasons follow the below weekly scale. The amount increases yearly until the current CBA expires.
Players with more than two seasons of experience are on a different scale. These veterans can negotiate their practice-squad salary based on the below windows.
2023: $16,100 – $20,600
2024: $16,800 – $21,300
2025: $17,500 – $22,000
2026: $18,350 – $22,850
2027: $19,200 – $23,700
2028: $20,900 – $25,400
2029: $20,900 – $25,400
2030: $21,750 – $26,250
How Many Players Can Be on an NFL Practice Squad?
The circumstances surrounding the 2020 NFL season were quite unique and caused a pretty huge change to the practice-squad rules. Originally, the NFL planned to gradually increase the practice-squad size from 12 to 14. However, due to COVID and the high rate of players testing positive, the practice squad was expanded to 16 members.
The move was so well received that it became the official rule moving forward, and practice squads are now set at 16 for the foreseeable future. Another note to mention is that only six of the 16 players are allowed to have an unlimited number of accrued seasons.
Teams also have four “protected” practice-squad slots. Considering that any NFL team may sign players from other teams’ practice squads, these protected slots are quite important. The four protected players are selected on a weekly basis and can change.
If a player is signed to a new team from a practice squad, they need to be signed to a 53-man roster spot and not onto another practice squad.
Who Is Eligible To Be on an NFL Practice Squad?
There are additional rules regarding who is eligible to be on an NFL team’s practice squad. If a player has no accrued season of experience (rookies), they cannot be placed on the practice squad. Additionally, players who were on the active list for fewer than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season are exempt from being eligible.
When a player is elevated from the practice squad on game days, they count toward the 48-player limit that each roster needs to present. Only two practice-squad players can be elevated for the same game, and players can only be elevated three times until they need to be signed onto an active roster.