A little while ago the NFL announced the expansion of the practice squad from eight players to 10. The official statement from the league:
The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed to expand NFL Practice Squads for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Absent an extension of the agreement, the current rules will be reinstated beginning with the 2016 season.
Under the agreement, 2014 and 2015 Practice Squads will increase from the current maximum of eight players to 10 players.
In addition, the criteria for Practice Squad eligibility has been expanded in two respects.
First, a player must have a minimum of six games - up from the current three games - on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player's three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.
Second, each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club's 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.
All other practice squad rules under Article 33 of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in effect during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
So, what does this mean? Until a few hours ago, the practice squad consisted of eight players. Here are some basics about them:
They can practice with the team, but they are not eligible to play in any games. They work from week to week and can be released at any time. A practice squad player from one team can be signed to the active roster of any other team at any time. They can only be signed to another team's practice squad if that player is released from his current team first. Here were the old requirements: A player is eligible if he does not have an accrued season of NFL experience. To gain an accrued season, a player has to be on an active roster for at least six games.
If a player has one accrued season, they can still be practice squad eligible if they were on the 45-man active gameday roster for less than nine regular season games. If they have more than that, they are not eligible to be placed on any practice squad.
A player is deemed to have served a season on the practice squad if he remains on the practice squad for at least three weeks. Players are eligible to be on the practice squad for two seasons.
Players can be eligible for a third practice squad season if their team maintains no less than 53 players on the active/inactive list at all times.
So, the three game minimum that counts as one season on the practice squad has been upped to six games. You can also have two players of the 10 that are beyond normal practice squad requirements, but have less than two seasons that would qualify them for free agency.
So there you go. 64 new jobs have been created in the NFL.