The NFL announced that the practice squads of each team will expand from eight to 10 players for the coming season.
That means more young, unproven players have an increased chance of vying for roster spots while still developing their games.
NFL teams currently have a maximum of 90 players, but on Aug. 26 they must cut their rosters to 75 players. On Aug. 30, teams must make final roster cuts, down to the regular season limit of 53 players. After making those cuts, teams are able to sign players to their practice squads.
Practice squad players drill daily with their NFL team but are not allowed to dress for games or travel to road games. Teams can cut practice squad players and sign others to take their place at any time.
An opposing team cannot sign another team’s practice squad player to their own practice squad. Such an acquisition would be permitted only if the opposing team was signing a player to its 53-man roster.
Practice squad players earn a minimum of $6,300 per week in regular season, which translates to $107,100 for a 17-week season, if they remain on the practice squad for that amount of time.
The new rules also permit a team to sign a maximum of two players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons toward free agency. These two players will be able to remain eligible for the practice squad as long as they have spent fewer than nine games on a team’s 46-player game-day roster.
Previously, players who had appeared on a game-day roster for 10 or more games in one season would have lost eligibility.