NFL practice squads: Minimum salary, rules for 2018

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Falcons training camp (Getty Images)

The minimum salary for NFL practice squad players has been rising over the past few years, and it will continue to rise. Increased pay for the players who help their teams prepare for opponents each week but don’t get to play in games was negotiated for the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

NFL teams in 2018 are able to begin constructing their practice squad rosters Sunday, Sept. 2, at 1 p.m. ET.

Here is all you need to know about NFL practice squads in 2018, including the minimum salary for practice squad players and the rules for practice squad construction.

How much money do NFL practice squad players make?

Practice squad players in 2018 can earn a minimum of $7,600 per week during the regular season and postseason, per the current CBA, but there is no cap on the amount practice squad players can receive.

The minimum salary for NFL practice squad players has increased and will continue to increase annually for the duration of the current CBA. The minimum weekly practice squad salaries for each year are below.

Year Minimum salary
2011 $5,700
2012 $5,700
2013 $6,000
2014 $6,300
2015 $6,600
2016 $6,900
2017 $7,200
2018 $7,600
2019 $8,000
2020 $8,400

NFL practice squad rules

For 320 players, getting let go on roster cutdown day is not the end of the road in the NFL, as each team is granted 10 practice squad players in addition to its 53-man roster.

Beginning at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, a full hour after the waiver claim period following roster cuts, teams are able to begin establishing their 10-man practice squads. Per the NFL: “No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a Practice Player Contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player’s prior NFL player contract has been terminated via the waiver system.”

An NFL practice squad typically is made up of rookies and undrafted free agents who the team recently cut. Each team can carry up to four veterans — who can have no more than two accrued NFL seasons (six games on the 53-man roster qualifies as an accrued season) — on its practice squad, and a player can’t be on a given practice squad for more than three seasons. Practice squad players are not eligible to play in games. Teams can sign players from other teams’ practice squads as long as the players are added to the new teams’ 53-man rosters (active/inactive).

From the CBA: “If a player on the practice squad of one club (Club A) signs a contract with another club (Club B), (1) the player shall receive three weeks salary at the 53-player minimum even if he is terminated by Club B prior to earning that amount, and (2) Club B is required to count the player on its 53-player roster for three games (a bye week counts as a game) even if he is terminated, traded or assigned via waivers to another club or is signed as a free agent to another club’s 53-player roster or another club’s practice squad prior to that time.

“If the player is terminated from Club B’s 53-player roster and signed to Club B’s practice squad, he shall continue to count on the club’s 53-player roster but shall not count against the 10-player practice squad limit until the three-game requirement has been fulfilled. If a player is terminated prior to the completion of the three-game period and is signed to Club B’s practice squad or is signed or assigned to another club’s 53-player roster or practice squad, any salary that he receives from any NFL club applicable to the three-game period shall be an offset against the three weeks’ salary that he is entitled to receive from Club B. If the promotion occurs with fewer than three games remaining in the club’s regular season, the three-game requirement for roster count shall not carry over into the next season.”

2018 NFL practice squads

(NFL teams are able to begin constructing practice squad rosters Sunday, Sept. 2.)

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins