When you follow your favorite NFL team, you will likely pay close attention to the salaries for the starters, back-ups, and anyone else on the 53-man roster. These salaries are most important for salary cap purposes, but you should also pay attention to the wages of the practice squad.
What is the salary of an NFL practice squad player, then?
An NFL practice squad player’s salary is divided into two groups: veterans and everyone else. The weekly wage for those with less than two seasons in the league is $9,200. The weekly pay for those with more than two seasons in the company is $9,200.
You’ve probably heard of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL (NFL Player’s Association) and the NFL. It is an agreement that ensures all players have equal opportunities to play the game they love.
A new CBA was signed before the 2020 season. It completely transformed the landscape for NFL practice squad members for many years, including their salaries. Continue reading to learn more about the changes made in the CBA.
What do Practice Squad players get paid?
As we have already mentioned, practice squad members of the NFL get paid a weekly amount as long as they are a part of the practice squad. The new CBA mandates that players receive a weekly salary. This amount depends on how many seasons they have played in the league.
When determining the salary of a practice squad player, there are two groups of players. The first group includes players with up to two seasons in the NFL. This consists of any rookie or player who made less than nine appearances in their first year.
The first group, the majority of the team’s practice squad, will be paid a minimum weekly wage of $9,200 for the 2021-22 season. This number will increase yearly under the new CBA as the league makes more money each year. This first group also has a weekly maximum salary.
Here are the next few years’ plans for this first group:
Let’s now see the first group’s impact on the upcoming season. The veterans are any player who has played in over two league seasons. These players receive both a minimum- and maximum salary under the new CBA.
Veterans will make $14,000 per week for the 2021-22 season. The minimum and maximum will remain the same until the beginning of the 2022/23 season. We’ll show how the future looks under the new CBA.
The new CBA was created to allow younger players to make a living as they build a reputation on the NFL practice squad. It also allows veteran players to earn higher salaries as they gain more experience in the league.
Why do NFL teams have practice squads?
For many reasons, practice squads are often given to NFL teams. It’s an excellent opportunity for the player, but it’s also a great opportunity for the team to get a closer look at some of the most promising young players.
The practice squad practices with the virtual team to develop alongside some of the most talented football players in the world. They see how the team works and play the game to be ready when they get called.
Because injuries are more common than you might think, the practice squad is an integral part of any NFL team. Because football is one of the most physically demanding sports, it’s essential to have a couple of players who can step in for any coach.
Although a practice team is usually made up of young players who aren’t qualified to make the 53-man roster, NFL teams can have some veterans on their practice squad. Because veterans often have a lot of NFL experience and are plentiful in the locker room, this helps everyone.
How many players are on the practice squad?
A practice squad with hungry players is excellent for both the player and the team. However, many restrictions must be met when signing players to the practice roster. One of the most important rules is the number of players on the practice squad.
Many NFL fans are familiar with the NFL’s practice squad limit of 10. However, this restriction has been removed in recent years. The most recent CBA was signed before the 2020 season. Teams were previously allowed a maximum of 12 players.
The 12-player limit was to be maintained until the 2022-23 seasons when it would increase to 14 players. The plan is still in place. However, the NFL experienced a little trouble before the 2020-21 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to make some changes.
The 2020-21 NFL season allowed 16 players to practice with their teams. Four of these were protected from other groups. This temporary change was caused by the high number of injuries and players going through COVID-19 safety and health protocols every week.
The NFL will resume 12-man practice squads starting in the 2021-22 season. Most players will likely receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The 12-player limit will probably be lifted after one season. In 2022-23, the NFL will mandate a 14-player practice squad.
We saw 16 players in practice squads during the 2020 season. Don’t be surprised if the league doesn’t continue this trend (12 players) or beyond (14).
Practice Squad Rules
When you put together and manage your practice squad, there are many more rules to follow. This will ensure fairness, integrity, and equality throughout the entire season for the NFL.
Practice squad players may be promoted to the 53-man roster at any moment, but the registration must still have an open spot — that is, they can only have 52 players at the time. They must release players and send them to the practice squad or the injured reserve if the roster is full.
You should remember these most important rules when practicing with the squad.
- The practice squad players can’t play in games and don’t count toward 53-man rosters. They also don’t count toward a team’s salary cap.
- However, practice squad players can still be seen practicing with the team (including the 53-man roster).
- Any team can let anyone from their practice squad at any time. Their salary isn’t guaranteed, so they don’t owe any compensation for the rest of the season.
- An NFL team cannot steal a practice team player from another NFL team if the player is being signed to another team’s 53-man roster.
- An NFL team cannot sign a player from another practice squad onto their squad unless the previous team has released the player.
- A practice squad player must sign with the upcoming opponent’s team no less than six days before the game or ten days after a bye week.
- A practice squad player from an NFL team is signed onto the 53-man roster. The player receives a minimum three-week salary and counts towards the 53-man registration for at least three weeks.
- If a player from the practice squad is released after being in the league for less than four years, they must clear the waiver wire before signing with another club.
The waiver wire system is unique in allowing struggling teams to add young players to their practice squad or roster before other groups. The worst section is given priority. The best team is last.
Teams have 24 hours to claim a player once they have entered the wire. The manager with the highest priority will be granted the rights to the player at the end of each day. Players can sign with any team they want, even if they are not part of a team that claims them.
Practice Squad Eligibility
You may be wondering about the eligibility requirements for signing with an NFL team’s practice roster.
The 16-player practice squad is no longer in force. Teams will now be allowed to have 12 players in their practice squad. Only two of those 12 players are veterans with an unlimited amount of seasons in the league.
The NFL will allow 14 players to join the practice squad starting with the 2022-23 football season. Only four of those 14 players can be veterans with an unlimited amount of accrued season. An accrued season is a season in which a player has played at least six regular games with the team.
Here are the eligibility requirements of each NFL team for the ten remaining players on the practice team.
- Rookies with zero seasons accrued in the league (typically players who were just drafted).
- Players who have played less than nine regular-season games for their team in an accrued season.
- A player can only have two seasons in the league. There are no limits on how many games they’ve played. Teams are allowed to have four players.
A player within one of these three categories can be signed to a team practice squad. Remember that teams can only have two veterans and four players who have played in at least two league seasons. Most practice squads will consist of players who fall within the first two bullet points.