See How Much NFL Practice Squad Players Make appeared originally on NBC Sports Chicago
The coaching staff is an important part of an NFL franchise.
All 32 teams are sure to deal with injuries in a rigorous 17-game season, and the practice squad provides them with replacement options who are already familiar with the system.
Don’t be surprised to see teams promote and sign practice squad players to their active rosters during the 2022 season as they work to prevent injury and illness.
With that said, here’s everything you need to know about the NFL practice squads for this season.
How many players are on an NFL practice squad?
The NFL increased the size of practice squads to a maximum of 16 players before the 2020 season in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the change has stuck.
The league and players union initially agreed to a collective bargaining agreement on March 15, 2020, which initially sought to increase the maximum number to 12 in 2020 and 14 in 2022. Very quickly, the NFL realized that teams were likely to need a lot more players to accommodate the revolving door of positive tests and reports for Covid-19. This proved to be a positive change across the league, and the 16-player minimum was solidified as an addition to the CBA last offseason.
How Much Money Do NFL Practice Squad Players Make?
Players with two or fewer cumulative NFL seasons earn at least $11,500 per week, which equates to $207,000 over 18 weeks spent on the practice squad. (A player accrues a season when he is on full-time paid status for at least six regular season games). Players with two or more accumulated seasons make at least $15,400 per week and $277,200 for the entire season. By comparison, the minimum salary for a rookie on an active roster this season is $705,000.
Practice squad players can be paid more than these minimum numbers and their salaries are counted against a team’s salary cap.
If a practice squad player is promoted to the active roster, he earns the prorated minimum salary for a player with his years of experience. So a rookie called up to the active roster before one game would see his salary increase from $11,500 to over $39,000. A player with seven plus years of experience would earn over $62,000.
If a practice squad player is signed to another club’s active roster, they are guaranteed three game checks.
What are the rules for NFL practice squads?
Here are some of the most notable rules to know about practice squads:
A maximum of six players on a practice squad may have more than two cumulative seasons of experience.
Teams can move up a player three times in the regular season before signing him to the 53-man roster. Previously, a team could promote a player only twice during the regular season or postseason.
Teams are allowed to protect four players per week from being signed by opposing teams. There is no limit to how many times a player can be protected during the season. These protections can be made after 4 p.m. ET every Tuesday.
The only way a practice squad player can be picked up by another team is if he is signed to the active roster. A team may not sign an opposing practice squad player to its own practice squad. A practice squad player cannot sign with his team’s next opponent unless it is at least six days before the game (10 if it is a bye week).
Each week, teams are allowed to promote two practice squad players without having to make room for them on the active roster, giving teams access to the 54th and 55th roster spots. This transaction must be completed by 4 p.m. ET the day before a game. After the game, those promoted players return to the practice squad without being placed on waivers. A player may be promoted to the active roster through this mechanism twice per season. If a team wants to call up a player for a third time, they must sign him to their roster.
If a team experiences a late positive case of COVID-19, they may promote an additional practice squad player within 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
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