Saturday's roster cut deadline isn't the last step for teams this week. After the cuts are done, teams can set about the business of filling out their practice squads. Below, is everything you ever wanted to know about NFL practice squads and a few predictions for who the Rams might be looking to add.
How many players can teams have on the practice squad?
This year teams are allowed to have 10 players. That's up from just eight players in previous years. There's a caveat for international players, who teams can keep and not have them count against the final 10-man group. That player has to have citizenship and primary residence outside of the US.
What does it mean to be on the practice squad?
Players practice along with the rest of the active roster, as the name implies. They have to be activated and placed on the 53-man roster in order to play. If a player is activated from the practice squad, they receive a minimum of three game checks, even if the team cuts them before three games.
Can other teams sign practice squad players?
They can, at any time with one exception. A team cannot sign another team's practice squad player if they're playing that team within five days (or nine days if it's a bye week). When a team does sign a player off a practice squad, they have to add them to the active roster.
What makes a player eligible for a practice squad?
- A player is eligible if he does not have an accrued season of NFL experience. Players gain an accrued season by being on the active roster for at least six games.
- If a player has one accrued season, they can still be practice squad eligible if they were on the 45-man active gameday roster for less than nine regular season games.
- A player is deemed to have served a season on the practice squad if he remains on the practice squad for at least three weeks. Players are eligible to be on the practice squad for two seasons.
- Players can be eligible for a third practice squad season if their team maintains no less than 53 players on the active/inactive list at all times.
How much to practice squad players make?
Players get a minimum salary of $6,300 per week. Teams can make it more if they want to entice a player to stick around. The minimum amount goes up every season until 2020, as part of the collective bargaining agreement, to $8,400 per week by that time.
So who might the Rams keep on their practice squad?
Obviously there could be a few players who spent the last month on another team's roster, players the Rams tried to sign as UDFAs or scouted during the draft process. The best way to think about it is from a position needs standpoint.
Which is why the first player I'd list here is QB Garrett Gilbert. With just two QBs on the roster, they need to have a third in house, and since Gilbert spent the spring and summer learning the offense, he makes the most sense. I'd also look for Emory Blake and/or Justin Veltung, wide receivers with knowledge of the offense and who can play special teams.
Offensive line is another big need every year. Sean Hooey could be one candidate. I wouldn't be surprised to see seventh-round pick Mitchell Van Dyk make the taxi squad.
We haven't seen too many defensive backs released at this point, so you can assume at least one of those guys will land here. Will Marcus Roberson make the final roster or the practice squad?