Practice Squad Eligibility

Posted: August 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 25 Comments »

Every year, Tommy and I get a lot of questions about whether Player X can be placed on the practice squad. To help answer those questions, I maintain a list of players who are eligible.

The brand new CBA has clarified a lot of the language in the previous version, and the practice squad section is no exception. The rules haven’t changed, but they are expressed more clearly than they were before:

The Practice Squad shall consist of the following players, provided that they have not served more than two previous seasons on a Practice Squad: (i) players who do not have an Accrued Season of NFL experience; and (ii) free agent players who were on the Active List for fewer than nine regular season games during their only Ac-crued Season(s). An otherwise eligible player may be a Practice Squad player for a third season only if the Club by which he is employed that season has at least 53 players on its Active/Inactive List during the entire period of his employment.

So any player who has not been on the 45 man game day active roster for 9 or more games in any single season is eligible, as long as they haven’t been on the practice squad in three prior years. Note that this is not the same as having an accrued season in the NFL. Last year, for example, Garrett Mills had four previous accrued seasons but spent a week on the Eagles’ practice squad because had had never been activated for at least nine games.

Therefore, here is the list of players who are eligible:

  • All drafted and undrafted rookies
  • Mike Kafka
  • Cornelius Ingram
  • Chad Hall
  • Rod Harper
  • AQ Shipley
  • Dallas Reynolds
  • Fenuki Tupou
  • Austin Howard
  • Joe Toledo
  • Daniel Te’o-Nesheim
  • Philip Hunt
  • Keenan Clayton
  • Brandon Hughes
  • Isaiah Trufant
  • Colt Anderson
  • Jamar Adams
  • Jamar Wall

From last year’s rookie class, Brandon Graham, Nate Allen, Trevard Lindley, Clay Harbor, Riley Cooper, Kurt Coleman, and Jorrick Calvin dressed for too many games last year and are not eligible. [edit: Jamar Chaney is also not eligible. Accidentally left him off of this list before.]

I also want to remind everyone about the mechanics for putting players on the practice squad. First, a player has to be waived by the Eagles. The other 31 teams in the league have the right to claim the player on waivers and add that player to their 53 man roster. Once the player has cleared waivers, the Eagles have the right to sign an eligible player to the practice squad. They don’t have any special priority in that … the player is a free agent and may join any other team’s practice squad as well. There is always some recruiting that goes on for some of the players.

Practice squad players will make a minimum of $5,700 a week in 2011. That money counts against the salary cap. In recent years, many teams, including the Eagles, have paid more than the minimum salary to some players that they really didn’t want to lose.

25 Comments on “Practice Squad Eligibility”

  1. 1 ATG said at 8:34 AM on August 15th, 2011:

    Great explanation, as usual.

    That Garrett Mills example seems like a flaw in the system. I assume the 3-year limit is to make sure the practice squad remains young, developing players. But a guy can spend years a player in slot 46-53 and then still get on to a practice squad?

    Could you give a quick summary of the rules for a guy getting picked off a practice squad? Don’t they have to go to a team’s 53-man roster, not one PS to another?

    Finally, we have a guy named Joe Toledo? I don’t know what he plays, but with a name like that, he should get more press.

  2. 2 Rich said at 8:40 AM on August 15th, 2011:

    With the new rule of 46 active players instead of 45 and the third QB, guys like Kafka won’t be eligible in future years, correct?

  3. 3 mcud said at 8:45 AM on August 15th, 2011:

    Always a helpful resource.

    2 questions:

    Will the new rules now exclude 3rd QBs going forward (a la Kafka) for PS eligibility? Isn’t the 3rd QB active now?

    How does the waiver process work on cut down day with regard to putting other teams’ players on your squad? For example, could we have put Antonio Dixon on the practice squad for week 1 last year? Or would we had to have re-waived him?

    I guess thats actually 5 questions….

  4. 4 JakFTW said at 8:51 AM on August 15th, 2011:

    @ATG – Joe Toledo is an OL. My impression is that he’s just in camp to eat up reps, but Tommy can probably give a better take.

    I suppose the next question is which of these prospects might we be able to ‘stash’ on the PS without them being poached – and how would you even try to figure that out?

  5. 5 Zack said at 9:15 AM on August 15th, 2011:


    On the first – 2 quesstions – I’m not 100% on any PS rules. But I feel like the rule wasn’t really anything position related, I believe it just increased the active game day roster by one spot. Meaning teams wouldn’t have to worry about using their 3rd string QB in the 2nd should their first two get minor injuries, etc.

    But teams could just keep 2 active QB’s and run the risk that if both get hurt, they can’t use their 3rd….at least that was my take.

  6. 6 JakFTW said at 9:46 AM on August 15th, 2011:

    I think Zack has it right on there – which is why a guy like Brad Smith can be so useful – not only is he your return specialist, he’s also your emergency QB, allowing you to use an additional gameday slot for another position.

    I wonder if Ronnie Brown could serve this purpose for the Eagles (Just kidding… mostly).

  7. 7 ROCEAGLES said at 10:23 AM on August 15th, 2011:

    I am pretty sure Dallas Reynolds is ineligible for the practice squad since he has spent the last 3 years on it. Not that he will be missed

  8. 8 Monters said at 10:43 AM on August 15th, 2011:

    Whats the over/under on the number of times Cornelius Ingram gets cut from and signed on the PS this year?

  9. 9 Sam said at 11:50 AM on August 15th, 2011:

    re: Dallas Reynolds

    Reynolds was in college in 2008. He was on the Eagles PS in 2009 and 2010. He has one year remaining.

    re: 46 man roster

    As mentioned, the 46th man doesn’t have to be a QB. It will be interesting to see if teams do activate 3 QBs. Some teams probably won’t even have 3 QBs on their roster, there are always a handful every year.

    re: signing guys off the PS

    Teams who sign a player must pay them and use a 53 man roster spot on them for a minimum of three weeks. Any team can sign any player off of any PS. But the player might not sign … he is technically a free agent with the right to say no. Teams don’t have a formal right of first refusal either.

    re: Garrett Mills

    If he were any good, he’d have dressed for more than a handful of games in 4 years.

    re: waiver process

    Only free agents can be added to a PS. If you claim a player on waivers, he must be put on your 53 man roster. If you want to then move him to the PS, you must then put him back on waivers, hope nobody else claims him, and then hope he will sign with your PS.

  10. 10 JakFTW said at 11:57 AM on August 15th, 2011:

    @Sam – “Any team can sign any player off of any PS. But the player might not sign … he is technically a free agent with the right to say no. Teams don’t have a formal right of first refusal either.”

    Can you describe some of the circumstances that might cause a player to say no – wouldn’t a player prefer to be on the 53 man roster somewhere?

    In practice, do players sometimes give teams a right of refusal?

  11. 11 William said at 12:20 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    How much does a player make when he’s on IR? Does he get full pay or does he just get a % of his pay? Also, does his salary count toward the cap?

    I mean what the point of keeping Abiamiri? The guy is going to get cut next season anyway. Did they do that so they could avoid an injury lawsuit, i.e Todd Pinkston?

  12. 12 Eagles Fan in San Fran said at 12:34 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    Joe Toledo? I believe he’s related to Joe the Plumber.

  13. 13 Tim said at 12:35 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    I would hope they put Phillip Hunt on the 53 man roster because someone will scoop him up. He isn’t a practice squader.

  14. 14 ian no. 2 said at 12:36 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    Jak, Last year Colt Anderson was on the practice squad (Min. I think) and he suddenly had offers late in the year from the Eagles and Cowboys, picking the Eagles because he would be activated earlier.

  15. 15 ppk said at 12:55 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    Thanks for the fine write-up, Sam. I wasn’t aware of any of the dynamics of ps rosters. My football iq has been boosted.

  16. 16 Dewey said at 2:46 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    I think the corollary to this is that the Eagles rarely fill the PS with players from Lehigh or the Eagles’ training camp. It’s mostly, I believe, players from other teams.

  17. 17 justrelax said at 3:02 PM on August 15th, 2011:


    Sam touched on it. The team may pay the guy more than the PS minimum. Also, once the first game is played, players signed after that do not have guaranteed contracts for the year and can be cut at any time and too bad for them. Under such circumstances, the player might choose to stay with the current PS.

  18. 18 CletusVanDamm said at 3:11 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    whats up with lesean not wanting to sqaush it with SS? lesean’s smile gives u the wrong impression, he looks like this nice boy with a big smile. then u hear about him taking money for shows and not showing up, and refusing to pay it back. shady is still my boy but he needs to sqaush it with SS, if it was Osi, i would agree w him but he needs to let it go with SS

  19. 19 Sam said at 5:57 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    re: incentives to not sign

    Long term vs. short term. A player may see a better fit long term with the team they are with. They also may be promised a spot on their current team in coming weeks. AJ Feeley, IIRC, was offered a deal by Chicago which he turned down before getting promoted back to the 53 man roster by the Eagles.

    re: IR pay

    Players on IR make their full salaries. However, rookies often have split contracts, making only about 60% of their salary if they wind up on IR. That is still twice as much as the PS minimum. Finally, players on non-football injury lists are not guaranteed to make a red cent. Victor Abiamiri may be on IR while they work out an injury settlement with him. They redid injury guarantees, so it may be that he is entitled to his full salary anyway. I will have to look it up later.

    re: Toledo

    So much for him.

  20. 20 mcud said at 6:57 PM on August 15th, 2011:


    Does said IR’d vet’s salary still count against the cap? I’d imagine not, right?

  21. 21 ian no. 2 said at 7:36 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    Joe Toledo got cut, which got him some press.

  22. 22 Sam said at 8:36 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    @ mcud

    All players on IR DO have their salaries count against the cap. There is no reduction for injured players in the NFL like there is in, say, hockey.

  23. 23 Stephen said at 9:57 PM on August 15th, 2011:

    lol, I can see Steve Smith being kind of like an outsider on the team this year. One of the hazards of joining your NFC East rivals.

    Watch him score a TD and no one will give him a chest bump lol.

  24. 24 mcud said at 9:58 PM on August 15th, 2011:


    Interesting. Illogical to me, but interesting. I guess it would prevent a team IRing a player simply for salary cap relief, but I can’t see the logic for a team trying that.

    Thanks for the reply.

  25. 25 ATG said at 12:10 AM on August 16th, 2011:

    @San Fran

    It looks like Joe Toledo might actually become Joe the Plumber.