NFL practice squad signings: Complete rosters for all 32 NFL teams in 2021
Practice squads will once again be crucial for NFL teams as the league and world continue to navigate a global pandemic in 2021. There are bound to be some positive COVID-19 tests that will impact teams, so they will rely on practice squad players to help overcome any absences.
That’s part of why the league is once again allowing teams to sign 16 players to practice squad rosters. Originally, the NFL and NFLPA’s Collective Bargaining Agreeement outlined a 12-man practice squad in 2021 with an increase to a 14-man unit in 2022. However, because of the pandemic, both parties agreed to expanded units last year; that policy will stay in effect for 2021.
Teams are allowed to begin signing players to practice squad contracts at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 1. That coincides with the passing of the waiver period after the NFL’s final roster cuts. NFL teams had to trim their 80-man rosters down to 53 by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
NFL teams are allowed to carry up to six veterans on the practice squad. That means there will be plenty of recognizable names on each unit, especially some experienced quarterbacks.
Sporting News is tracking each NFL team as they fill out their practice squads. Also included are details on the rules and salaries for practice squad players.
NFL practice squad signings: 2021 rosters for all 32 NFL teams
Below are the initial practice squad signings that teams made after Tuesday’s final cuts, via either team announcements or media reports.
Practice squads are subject to change and teams will frequently shuffle players throughout the 16 available spots throughout the 2021 NFL season.
49ers practice squad
Bears practice squad
No signings reported yet.
Bengals practice squad
Bills practice squad
Broncos practice squad
Browns practice squad
Buccaneers practice squad
Cardinals practice squad
Chargers practice squad
Chiefs practice squad
Colts practice squad
Cowboys practice squad
Dolphins practice squad
Eagles practice squad
Falcons practice squad
Giants practice squad
Jaguars practice squad
Jets practice squad
Lions practice squad
Packers practice squad
Panthers practice squad
Patriots practice squad
Raiders practice squad
Rams practice squad
Ravens practice squad
Saints practice squad
Seahawks practice squad
Steelers practice squad
Texans practice squad
Titans practice squad
Vikings practice squad
Washington practice squad
How much are NFL practice squad players paid?
There are two NFL practice squad salary scales. The first group is comprised of rookies and players with two or fewer accrued seasons. The second is for the NFL veterans with no limit to the accrued seasons under their belts.
The first group is set to be paid $9,200 a week in 2020. This is up from $8,400 a week in 2020 and will continue to rise on a yearly basis through the duration of the NFL and NFLPA’s CBA deal in 2030.
Below are the weekly salaries of players with two or fewer accrued seasons through 2030.
The second group is paid more than the first group, as these players often have a lot of NFL experience under their belts. Right now, each player is receiving a fixed weekly salary, but beginning in 2022, their salaries will be within a negotiable price range.
Here’s a look at those contract values through 2030.
Practice squad contracts do not include guaranteed salaries, bonuses or incentives. They are entirely about the weekly check.
That said, if a player is promoted to the active roster for game day, they will receive a prorated cut of the minimum annual salary for a player with his number of accrued seasons. In 2020, that was 1/17 of the minimum. It seems likely to change to 1/18 of the minimum in 2021 due to the NFL’s change to a 17-game, 18-week schedule.
How many players can be on an NFL practice squad?
For the second consecutive year, NFL teams will be allowed to carry 16 players on their practice squads in 2021. Previously, practice squad sizes had been limited to just 10 players. Initially, the league planned a practice squad expansion to 12 players in 2020 (with a second expansion to 14 coming in 2022), but they increased the allotment because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 16-player practice squad provided teams with roster flexibility and an opportunity to keep more players familiar with the system. That proved crucial during the COVID-impacted campaign, and as such, the league kept practice squad sizes at 16 for 2021.
Who is eligible for an NFL practice squad?
There are a few practice-squad rules related to service time.
Players on NFL practice squads usually fall into the following categories. They are:
NFL teams have no limit on the amount of these players that can be on the practice squad. However, teams are also allowed to keep a handful of slightly more experienced players around. These rules were added recently to allow teams to keep some veteran talent and depth around outside of the active roster.
There are, however, limited on those players, which are as follows:
That’s why some recognizable players, like Josh McCown and Theo Riddick, have spent time on practice squads in recent seasons. Teams now have the flexibility needed to keep them around without using active roster spots.
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Can practice squad players play in games?
Only two practice squad players will be eligible to play in NFL games on a weekly basis. NFL teams are allowed to promote two players to the active roster for game days to expand the gameday roster to 55. This can occur any time before the official actives/inactives list is released 90 minutes before the game.
However, the other 14 players will not be on the active roster and, as a result, will not be able to play. And NFL teams aren’t obligated to promote players from the practice squad either, so they can opt to keep their gameday rosters at 53. Only 48 players are active for NFL games.
Can practice squad players sign with other teams?
Practice squad players are eligible to sign with other NFL teams but only if they are signed to another team’s 53-man roster. There are no practice squad to practice squad transactions.
NFL teams can also sign their own practice squad players to their 53-man roster. They just have to open up a roster spot to do so.
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