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NFL Practice Squad Eligibility Rules

In the National Football League, teams are only allowed to keep 53 players on their active roster. Yet sometimes there are players who are almost, but not quite, good enough to make the cut. That’s why the league’s collective bargaining agreement includes NFL Practice Squad rules, allowing each team to form what is known as a practice squad or a scout team.
Size of a Practice Squad

  • According to NFL Practice Squad rules, each team is allowed to keep up to eight players on their scout team at any given time. In addition, the National Football League may allow teams to keep a ninth player on the squad, provided they live outside of the United States.

Practice Squad Players

  • Any professional footballplayer signed to a team’s practice squad can, as the name suggests, practice with the active roster members of that ball club. However, they cannot participate in an actual game unless they are signed to the active roster of a team.

Salary of Scout Team Players

  • The current salary of practice squad players, through 2010, is $5,200 per week. That amount will remain unchanged if 2011 is an uncapped year (that is, there is no salary cap), and will rise by $500 per week if there is a salary cap during that season. In 2012, the salary will be $5,700 per week.

Signing Practice Squad Players

  • Under the current NFL Practice Squad Rules, any player who is under contract on a scout team is free to sign a player contract with any team in the league, without compensation to the franchise whose practice squad he is a member of. However, the signing must be completed at least six days before the signing team’s next game (10 days in the case of a bye week).

Practice Squad Eligibility

According to league policy, only certain types of players are allowed to sign to the practice squad. Players cannot have played more than nine regular season games or been on the active roster for an entire year, nor can players be allowed to spend more than two seasons on the same team’s squad unless that team’s active roster never dips below 53 players.

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