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Who can be on the Practice Squad?

Aug 30, 2009, 4:59 AM EST

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Westbrook could spend a third year on the practice squad

Westbrook could spend a third year on the practice squad

During the live blog last night we got to discussing the practice squad and who could be on it and who couldn’t. I found my PDF of the NFL collective bargaining agreement and found the rules on page 171. Here are the eligibility requirements for players to be on the Practice Squad:

  • Players may not have served more than two previous seasons on a practice squad
  • Players who do not have an accrued season of NFL experience.
  • Free agent players who were on the Active List for fewer than nine regular season games during the only Accrued Seasons.
  • An otherwise eligible player may be a practice squad player for a third season only if the club by which he is employed that season has at least 53 players on its active/inactive list during the entire period of his employment.
  • Three regular season or postseason games on the practice squad qualifies as a year.

Also, a player must clear waivers before being added to the practice squad and, during the season, a team can sign a PS player from another team with no compensation. In addition, after being waived a player cut by one team could sign with the practice squad of another team.

The primary misconception that I had was that players who had a season on the roster but were inactive virtually the entire year such as Colt Brennan or Chad Reinhart could not be on the practice squad. Since both were active for fewer than nine games during their only accrued seasons, they could be signed to the PS.

It says here that neither one of them will end up there. Reinhart should get another year, although it appears that he will be the second option should a guard go down; Jeremy Bridges will be the first. Colt’s fate won’t be decided until after Thursday’s game but he clearly is on the bubble. If Chase Daniel does get the nod as the third QB I doubt that Brennan would wind up on the practice squad.

It’s not that he’s not worth keeping around but that there is no use for a fourth quarterback in the week to week operation during the regular season. Even with three you have an extra with the starter running the offense and another one running the scout team. The third one can throw to receivers in drills and handle other such chores. A fourth quarterback would be the proverbial fifth wheel.

It also appears that Byron Westbrook could be on the PS. He’s been on there the past two seasons but since, as far as I know, the Redskins have had 53 players on the active/inactive roster every week. That seems like an odd twist to the rules since I’ve never heard of a team carrying fewer than 53 players. But apparently they don’t want teams carrying practice squad players in lieu of having them on the roster.

Westbrook may or may not want to hang around for another year on the PS. The practice squad may not be a player’s dream destination, but it’s not a bad gig. The minimum pay is $5,200 a week or $88,400 if you stick the whole season. A team can play a practice squad member more but the salaries do go against the cap.

It’s not as good a deal as being on the roster. The rookie minimum is $285,000 or $16,764 a week.

  1. dexter yancy - Aug 30, 2009 at 4:22 PM

    I would like to join the practice squad asap

  2. Aidan Dewey - Sep 1, 2009 at 9:21 PM

    So, of the players on the bubble… are there any that are ineligible for the PS? Have you posted a prediction of the PS members?

  3. Rich Tandler - Sep 1, 2009 at 9:35 PM

    Obviously, players like Hackett and Wynn would not be. Any draft pick or rookie FA would be. Alex Buzbee and receivers like Eloi and Shelton, yes.

    I haven’t made a PS prediction and I don’t plan to.

  4. John Robinson - Sep 7, 2009 at 12:42 PM

    I have a question. Perhaps someone here may have some insight…

    If Chase Daniel were to be claimed by the Redskins from the Saints he obviously has to be added to the 53 man rooster.

    However, could he later be assigned to the practice squad after being added to the 53 man rooster later in the season?

  5. Rich Tandler - Sep 7, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    Yes, but he would have to clear waivers before joining the Skins’ PS and he would have to agree to go there (so the word “assigned” doesn’t really fit).

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