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NFL Practice Squad rules, eligibility, salary, Dolphins predictions, and more

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After a day filled with roster cuts yesterday, the NFL will open up practice squads today. We take a look at all the rules surrounding practice squad players.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins completed their roster cuts on Saturday, bringing the roster down to the 53-man regular season limit. After a day of letting players leave the team facilities, the team will get a chance to bring back a practice squad later today.

Before the practice squad players can be signed, the waiver wire process will be completed. We discussed the basics of waivers yesterday. The process ends at 12pm ET today, with teams able to then begin signing practice squad players an hour later. Practice squad eligibility has some special rules, so we will run through all of that, as well as the salary players will typically receive, and a look at some of the Dolphins who are eligible to be re-signed by Miami.

How many players can be signed to practice squad?

Ten.  The league previously allowed eight players on the practice squad, but changed the rules last year to give each team an additional two players. The league only made those additions valid for the 2014 and 2015 season, so another rule change will have to happen if the ten man practice squad is going to continue past this year.

Player eligiblity for the practice squad?

In order to be eligible for the practice squad, players must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have no prior Accrued Seasons in the NFL (An accrued season is six or more games on the active roster);
  • Have one prior Accrued Season in which the player was on the 45-man active roster for no more than 8 games;
  • Each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of 2 Practice Squad players who have earned no more than 2 accrued seasons of free agency credit;
  • If served two seasons on a practice squad, are eligible for a third season only if the team has at least 53 players on its active/inactive list for the duration of that player's employment.
  • A player has served one season on the practice squad if he is on the practice squad for at least 6 games. The rule previously required 3 games on the practice squad roster.

What Dolphins players cut yesterday are eligible for the practice squad?

WR Damarr Aultman
QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson
C Sam Brenner
DT Deandre Coleman
LB James Davidson
DE Emmanuel Dieke
WR Cobi Hamilton
OT Donald Hawkins
LB Mike Hull
OT Michael Liedtke
LB Jeff Luc
TE Tim Semisch
TE Jake Stoneburner
S Cedric Thompson
OT Aundrey Walker

Salary

Players on the practice squad can earn a minimum of $6,600 per week in 2015. Teams are allowed to pay a player a higher salary than the minimum, and this often happens if another team comes sniffing around a player. All practice squad salaries are counted under the team's salary cap.

Player rights

While on a practice squad, a player is paid by that particular team. However, the player has the right to sign with another team's 53-man roster. The one exception to this is that the player may not sign a contract with his team's next opponent after 1 p.m. PT six days preceding the game (10 days preceding in bye weeks). A player cannot sign a practice squad contract with one team and then leave to sign a practice squad contract with another team, unless the first team has released said player.

Three-week Rule and Promotion

If a player signs with another team's 53-man roster, or is promoted to his own team's 53-man roster, the player must be paid for at least 3 weeks of at least league minimum salary. They can be released before the 3 weeks is up, but they still have to be paid.

There is one exception to this called the Contagious Disease Addendum, which was first added in June 2010 in a side letter agreement to the last CBA. This states that if a player is promoted from the practice squad for a game because a club was given a roster exemption due to confirmed or suspected cases of contagious disease among its players, the player remains on his practice squad contract, but will be paid 1/17 of the league minimum salary. After the game he will be returned to the practice squad without having to clear waivers.

Dolphins prediciton

QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson
DT Deandre Coleman
DE Emmanuel Dieke
WR Cobi Hamilton
OT Donald Hawkins
LB Mike Hull
LB Jeff Luc
TE Tim Semisch
Cedric Thompson
OT Aundrey Walker