The Hard part is over. At least the hardest part. The Broncos have trimmed their roster to 53-guys, releasing 19 and moving several others to the various lists available to them. Next on the list comes the Practice Squad. Who will the Broncos keep? Who will they go after? As John Elway told the media tonight, the situation is far from being resolved.
"Yeah, it's still fluid. We'll have to wait and see what happens. Obviously the cuts have to be in by tonight at 7:00 and then we have until 10 in the morning to put any claims in so we've been going through that process trying to prepare because of the short window we had between last night's game and today and then by the time we have to claim by 10:00 so we're in the process, we've been in the process the last week of working on that and now that some of the cuts and names are getting out there we're in that process again."
That means the Broncos need to put in claims for those players they'd like from other teams by 10AM mt on Saturday. They can also begin signing players to the Practice Squad at 10:00AM mt on Saturday. Which Broncos who were released today could be coming back tomorrow?
First, let's take a look at the rules.
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. Teams have done this in the past in order to keep players that they valued.
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 4pm 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.
Now that we know the rules of the Practice Squad, who fits the bill for the Broncos? Of the 19 players released on Friday, 14 are eligible for the Practice Squad. They include:
Of course, this list doesn't include anyone the Broncos could have their eyes on from other teams. The Broncos would like to keep Jeremiah Johnson and Rafael Bush, that seems certain to me, and Mike Mohamed is an option as well. Adam Weber is likely headed back to the Practice Squad, unless of course, another team and situation appeal to him more. Finally, of the list above, Greg Orton is likely along with Sealver Siliga. In the end, it's a crapshoot and no one really knows.
Hash it out in the comments. There's not much time, however, 10AM mt comes quick!