Now that the Denver Broncos have trimmed their roster down to 53, we must wait for those players league-wide to clear waivers on Wednesday afternoon before teams can begin filling out their practice squad.
As you know in Denver, we tend to find multi-year starters from that unit every now and then. From Rod Smith to Brandon Marshall (the linebacker), the practice squad is a great place to develop players.
In 2022, the practice squad looks a little difference. Let’s break down what teams can do with the practice squad this season.
How many players can be on the practice squad?
Back in my day (a long, long time ago), the practice squad was limited to just five players. That began to change in recent years. In 2014, the limit was increased to 10 and then again in 2020 to 12. For 2022, there was another increase to 16. That’s sixteen players!
Considering teams ultimately cut 37 players by the final cut down day, they will nearly hire half of those players back.
How much do practice squad players make?
The weekly compensation can differ depending on how much NFL experience a practice squad player has. Any player with less than two accrued seasons will be paid $11,500 per week. Veterans, on the other hand, can negotiate a weekly pay between $15,400 and $19,900.
What are the restrictions for practice squad players?
With the pandemic, some rules were changed to help enhance a teams ability to get through a full season. Previously, the restrictions for practice squad players were very focused on keeping that unit full of young, inexperienced players.
A team’s practice squad can have:
- Any number of players who have not accrued at least nine games in an NFL season.
- Up to four players who have accrued no more than two NFL seasons.
- Up to six players with no limitations on experience.
When can teams start signing players to their practice squads?
For any player who was waived, teams must wait for them to run through the waiver wire. Teams have a waiver priority - the Broncos have the 9th best waiver priority through Week 3 - and if they claim any of the cut players then they can add them to their active roster.
Players on the waiver wire are free to sign with any team after they clear waivers, which ends less than 24 hours after the roster deadline. That would be Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 10 AM Mountain time.
For veterans with over four years in the league who were released ahead of the roster deadline, those players are free to sign with any team at any time. They are not subject waiver rules. This is why the Broncos were able to sign quarterback Josh Johnson to their practice squad before the waiver period ended.
What control do teams have over their practice squad players?
One of the new rules is giving teams some limited ability to protect certain players on their practice squad. The old way of doing this would force a team to sign a player to their active roster to protect them from being signed by another franchise.
Now, beginning on each Tuesday, they can designate up to four players as protected from being signed by other teams.
That about covers all the main points of the practice squad this year. Look for Denver to begin filling that practice squad out later today!