NFL practice squads: Salaries, roster limits, rules, and more

NFL practice squad salaries are a hot topic as the NFL cutdown days make way for practice squad construction. How much do these players make?

The rules surrounding NFL practice squads have recently undergone significant changes. Not only have practice squad rules become more team-friendly, but an increase in revenue has also prompted higher salaries for the players. As we approach the deadline for teams to cut down their rosters to 53, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about NFL practice squads.

NFL practice squad salaries

Unfortunately, it is not a black-and-white answer for how much a practice squad player is paid. 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 right through to the expiration of the current CBA.

2022: $11,500
2023: $12,000
2024: $12,500
2025: $13,000
2026: $13,750
2027: $14,500
2028: $15,250
2029: $16,000
2030: $16,750

However, starting this year, players with more than two seasons of experience are on a different scale. These veterans are given the opportunity to negotiate their practice squad salary based on the below windows.

2022: $15,400 to $19,900
2023: $16,100 to $20,600
2024: $16,800 to $21,300
2025: $17,500 to $22,000
2026: $18,350 to $22,850
2027: $19,200 to $23,700
2028: $20,900 to $25,400
2029: $20,900 to $25,400
2030: $21,750 to $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 increase the practice squad size from 12 to 14 gradually. However, due to COVID and the high rate players were testing positive, the practice squad was expanded to 16.

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 had 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 practice squad players can only be elevated three times until they need to be signed onto an active roster.

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