On cutdown day, several quality players will be released, but teams will sign as many as 10 (pending a rule change) a designation meaning a team controls their rights and pays them a salary to practice with the team. Here are the rules and eligibility requirements for the Steelers practice squad.
(Big nod to David Fucillo and Niners Nation for compiling this information here)
Previously, teams could keep up to eight players on their practice squad, but earlier reports suggest the league is close to approving an expansion of that up to 10 players.
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;
- 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.
It's worth noting that a player will be considered to have served on a practice squad in a season if he were a member of a practice squad for three regular or postseason games during his first two practice squad seasons, or for one regular season or postseason game during a third practice squad season.
Players on the practice squad can earn a minimum of $5,700 per week in 2012. It is worth noting teams can pay a member of the practice squad anything above that amount but it appears as though it impacts the salary cap.
It is also important to note that once a player signs with a practice squad, with one exception he can sign with another team's 53-man roster at any point during the season. The one exception is that practice squad players may not sign a contract with his team's next opponent after 4 p.m. ET 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.
Finally, if a player is promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, that player must remain there for three weeks and get paid the minimum salary for their status. If they are let go before the three weeks, they still receive the three weeks pay.
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.
Here are the Steelers players eligible for this year's practice squad:
(* means player is eligible only when they have 53 players on the active roster. They could not go down to 52 players without promoting this player)
RB Dri Archer
TE Rob Blanchflower
WR Justin Brown
WR Martavis Bryant
LB Terence Garvin
CB Isaiah Green*
RB Josh Harris
DL Ethan Hemer
RB Stephen Houston
OG Chris Hubbard
OL Wesley Johnson
LB Howard Jones
QB Landry Jones
QB Brendan Kaye
DL Josh Mauro
DL Dan McCullers
LB Dan Molls
CB Dayonne Nunley
DL Roy Philon
OL Graham Pocic
CB Shaquille Richardson
WR Lanear Sampson
LB Ryan Shazier
OG Will Simmons
LB Sean Spence
DL Stephon Tuitt
S Ross Ventrone*
DL Nick Williams
P Brad Wing
LB Jordan Zumwalt has been placed on injured reserve.
Previously released Steelers players with practice squad eligibility
DL Brian Arnfelt
OL Chris Elkins
OL Emmanuel McCray
RB Tauren Poole
RB Miguel Maysonet
TE Eric Waters
DB Jordan Dangerfield
CB Lew Toler
CB Devin Smith*
WR C.J. Goodwin
WR Kashif Moore*
RB Jordan Hall
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