Playing on an NFL practice squad isn’t a bad gig. You work with a club’s 53-man roster every week, have a good chance to get called up if/when injuries strike, and collect a solid paycheck ($8K per week minimum). And for some practice squaders, the pay can get even better.
While all practice squad salaries count towards the salary cap, there’s no restriction on how much a team can pay a practice squad player. When a club desperately wants to retain a player but can’t fit him on its 53, they’ll often bump up his salary in an effort to keep him around. Here’s a look at several players who are earning much more than the NFL’s $8K per week standard, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):
- 49ers LB Elijah Lee ($37,941)
- 49ers S Marcell Harris ($30K)
- Ravens CB Maurice Canady ($26K)
- Jets RB Josh Adams ($25K)
- Jets OL Calvin Anderson ($20K)
- Eagles OL Sua Opeta ($20K)
- Broncos QB Brett Rypien ($20K)
- Eagles QB Kyle Lauletta ($20K)
- Dolphins QB Jake Rudock ($20K)
- Colts OL Jackson Barton ($20K)
The 49ers clearly have no problem with spending a little extra on practice squad players, as both Lee and Harris are earning at least $22K more than the league PS minimum. Lee’s been with San Francisco since 2017 and started five games for the club last season, but the 49ers’ front seven depth is keeping him on the taxi squad for now. Harris, too, was a part-time starter for San Francisco in 2018.
The quarterbacks on the list are also interesting. Rypien has been deemed Broncos’ offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello‘s “project” and could be called up to the active roster at some point given that Denver is only carrying two quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen (rookie second-rounder Drew Lock is on injured reserve). And the rebuilding Dolphins seem intent on hanging onto Rudock, who spent the first three seasons of his career with the Lions.
Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC West teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks and 49ers are noted below.
Additionally, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads today. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.
Here are Sunday’s NFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.
- Signed to practice squad:
Los Angeles Rams
- Signed to practice squad:
San Francisco 49ers
- DB Antone Exum
- Placed on IR:
- Signed to practice squad:
The 49ers got down to the 53-man roster maximum by releasing 24 players in total on Saturday, including former first-round pick Joshua Garnett.
The Niners used the No. 28 pick to select Garnett in 2016, but they never saw much from him at the pro level. The Stanford product started in eleven of his 15 games as a rookie, but even then, his performance was underwhelming – Garnett racked up penalties and didn’t excel in run blocking or pass blocking. Garnett then missed all of 2017 after undergoing knee surgery and only saw action as a reserve in seven games last year. At a rate of $10.35MM, it made little sense to keep Garnett for 2020, especially since the option would have been guaranteed for injury.
This year, Garnett is said to be healthy, but that ensured little in terms of performance, so he’s out. The Niners will save $1.7MM against $1.2MM in dead money.
Jordan Matthews was said to have had a strong camp, but the 27-year-old wide receiver wasn’t able to stick in SF. He inked a one-year, $1.8MM deal with the Niners in March, but he’ll exit with just his $300K signing bonus in hand.
Aside from Garnett and Matthews, here’s the rest of the Niners’ cuts:
DB Antone Exum Jr.
DL Kevin Givens
TE Daniel Helm
WR Malik Henry
LB Elijah Lee
LB David Mayo
OL Najee Toran
RB Jeff Wilson Jr.
OL Andrew Lauderdale
The 49ers are activating safety Marcell Harris off of the injured reserve list, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. The rookie sixth rounder is expected to make his debut against the Raiders on Thursday night after being sidelined for several weeks with a hamstring ailment.
Harris lost his entire 2017 season at Florida due to a torn Achilles, so he has been out of action for quite a while. Before that injury, Harris turned in a strong 2016 campaign in which he totaled 73 tackles, four tackles-for-loss, one sack, two interceptions, one pass breakup, one quarterback hurry, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He also scored the first touchdown of his career on special teams at FSU on a fumbled punt.
The Niners will start D.J. Reed and Jaquiski Tartt at safety the Thursday night contest with Antone Exum and Tyvis Powell also serving as depth options. Harris will slide in as a reserve, taking a spot that opened when Adrian Colbert was placed on IR.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Yesterday, 28-year-old Brittany Bowlen publicly confirmed her interest in one day becoming the Broncos‘ controlling owner. As Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets, however, Bowlen’s interest had been known for some time, yesterday just marked the first time she went public with her feelings. Jhabvala also confirms that, if Bowlen does not become the controlling owner, the Pat Bowlen Trust will likely sell the club to an outside buyer.
Now let’s take a look at some more news and notes from the league’s west divisions:
- Chargers DE Joey Bosa will make his debut on November 4 against the Seahawks, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. That is the return date that the team has been targeting for some time, and Bosa will obviously provide a huge boost to the team’s pass rush and playoff aspirations.
- The news is not as good for Chargers TE Hunter Henry. Although there was some hope that Henry could return to the field this season, despite the fact that he tore his ACL in May, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that the odds of that happening are quite slim.
- La Canfora confirms a report from earlier this week that the Seahawks will eventually be sold in the wake of Paul Allen‘s death. Allen, who has no heirs and who did not intend to pass on the team to a specific person, did make plans and stipulations just the same. The NFL is reserving comment at this time and will allow the Seahawks to make Allen’s plans public when they choose to, but sources expect that the transfer of the team — likely for a price exceeding $2.3 billion — will take a similar course as the eventual sale of the Bills after Ralph Wilson‘s passing. In that case, Wilson had put a framework in place for the Bills to remain in Buffalo, and the team was ultimately sold to Terry Pegula, who already had strong ties to the region.
- 49ers sixth-round draft pick Marcell Harris was cleared to begin practice this week, the team announced, making him eligible to return as early as Week 9 against the Raiders. The strong safety was placed on IR after the team’s final cutdown, but the team left open the possibility that he could play this year. The Niners must activate him before Nov. 7 for him to be eligible to play. If he does play this year, it will snap an inactive streak that has been ongoing since he suffered a torn Achilles at Florida.
Ben Levine contributed to this post.
There have been plenty of transactions across the league today. While the big names all garnered headlines of their own, there were tons of more under-the-radar signings and cuts as well. Here are all the additional moves from the NFC so far today:
- Waived: WR Trevor Bates
Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Here are Monday’s draft pick agreements.
- Two Chiefs Day 3 draftees agreed to terms on Monday. Kansas City signed Texas safety Armani Watts (Round 4, pick 124) and Tennessee lineman Kahlil McKenzie (Round 6, pick 198), Adam Teicher of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). The son of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, Kahlil most recently played defensive tackle for the Volunteers. But the Chiefs are beginning his NFL career as a guard. Watts figures to push for a starting job for a Chiefs team that released Ron Parker.
- The Bengals signed their final pick of the draft in Florida State wide receiver Auden Tate, whom Cincinnati selected in the seventh round (No. 253 overall).
- Ohio’s other team signed a fifth-round pick Monday, with the Browns agreeing to terms with Memphis linebacker Genard Avery (Round 5, pick 150).
- Jon Gruden‘s presumptive Marquette King replacement also signed today. Florida punter Johnny Townsend (Round 5, pick 173) signed his four-year Raiders deal.
- The 49ers signed a fellow former Gator — No. 184 overall pick — in sixth-rounder Marcell Harris, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com tweets. San Francisco now has six of its nine selections under contract.