TUESDAY, 3:37pm: The changes to practice squads, which were officially announced today, will apply to 2014 and 2015 only, says agent Mike McCartney (via Twitter). According to McCartney, six games – rather than three – now constitute a “year” spent on a team’s practice squad. Players can be on a practice squad for a maximum of three years.
In the press release on the changes, the league also clarifies that teams may sign two practice squad players who have up to two accrued NFL seasons. Previously, players with at least one accrued season were not eligible for practice squads.
MONDAY, 7:29pm: By next week, the NFL is expected to increase size of practice squads from eight players to ten players, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN (on Twitter). In total, the move would create 64 more jobs for players across the league.
This is obviously great news for fringe players looking for an opportunity to stick on an NFL roster. Coaches should also be happy about this development as they can have a couple of extra players in reserve that can fill an injury hole without a learning curve on the team’s playbook and schemes. Practice squad signings will get underway on Sunday, August 31st, the day after NFL teams have to cut their rosters down to 53 players.
it sounds like a win-win for teams and many players, but as Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk notes, the practice squad rule could have an impact on older free agents without practice squad eligibility who have might have been considered as in-season roster additions for clubs dealing with injuries. Now, those players are conceivably competing with two more in-house candidates for jobs.