Time to cover some technicalities.
Article 33 of the current NFL/NFLPA Collectice Bargaining Agreement covers practice squads and in some depth at that.
Here’s a summary to cover the basics.
While the 53-man roster has to be established by 4pm ET tomorrow, teams have nearly another 24 hours before they can begin constructing their practice squad:
September 3: Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.
September 4: Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of 10 players. No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a Practice Player Contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player’s prior NFL player contract has been terminated via the waiver system.
The intent is to give teams time to identify the official list of players who have been cut so that they can identify potential talent acquisitions. The Rams did just that nearly two years ago to the day for a QB named Case Keenum...
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In most cases, eligibility is limited to players who have been on an active roster for fewer than six games, or were on a 45-man active gameday roster for fewer than nine games.
However, beginning in 2016, the NFL is allowing four players per practice squad to have two accrued seasons, making it easier for teams to have experienced players on their practice squad. In the previous agreement, only two players with two accrued seasons were allowed to be on a practice squad.
A player is allowed on the practice squad for up to two years, with one year counting as six weeks in a season. A third year on the practice squad is only allowed if the team keeps 53 players on their active roster at all times.
The minimum weekly salary for a practice squad player in 2016 is $6,900.
There is no maximum weekly salary for a practice squad player. The highest-paid practice squad player of all time was 2015 St. Louis Rams OT Isaiah Battle.
The bottom line is that the practice squad allows teams to hold on to players they think could either develop into quality players with a couple of years of tutelage or could be valuable call-ups in case of injury-forced emergencies.
Not every player from every practice squad features in every season. But at least one does from every squad every year.
Stay tuned as we head toward the establishment of the 2016 Los Angeles Rams practice squad.