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2017 Patriots practice squad tracker: Rules, eligibility, salaries, and more

Everything you need to know about the Patriots practice squad.

New York Giants v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are setting their final roster and they’re now able to establish their practice squad. They will be adding ten players that will serve as a scout team for the regular season and serve as depth in case of injury.

The Patriots had plenty of players they released that they should be interested in retaining on the practice squad. Players like RB D.J. Foster, WR Cody Hollister, WR Austin Carr, TE James O’Shaughnessy, EDGE Geneo Grissom, CB Kenny Moore, and S Damarius Travis are just a few of the former Patriots that the team should ask to return.

New England has also shown an interest in paying their practice squad players more than the minimum salary- and sometimes as much as rostered players- in order to keep them in the fold.

Here are the players known to join the Patriots practice squad.

1. RB D.J. Foster (source and analysis)

2. OG Ted Karras (source and analysis)

3. FS Damarius Travis (source and analysis)

4. FS David Jones (source and analysis)

5. DE Geneo Grissom (source and analysis)

6. WR Cody Hollister (source and analysis)

7. OC James Ferentz (source and analysis)

8. LB Trevor Bates (source and analysis)

9. DT Darius Kilgo (source and analysis)

10. TBD

Here are the rules for the practice squad below.

What is the practice squad?

Each team is allowed one group of players who do now count against the 53-man roster. The practice squad is used, typically, to develop a younger player, while also giving the team a group of players who are used to replicate the offense or defense of the up coming opponent.

How big is the practice squad?

Two years ago, the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed to a temporary expansion of the practice squad to ten players. That expansion was set to expire this year, but was renewed in the offseason. That will allow each team to carry 10 additional players throughout the season.

Eligiblilty

The standard eligibility for a player to be added to the practice squad is he is a free agent and has not accrued two years of NFL service. A player can only be on a practice squad for three seasons total in his career (six weeks on a practice squad in a seasons counts as a season for these purposes).

The league does allow for exceptions to the less than two-year rule, which was expanded with the 10-player expansion agreement this year. Teams may keep up to four players on their practice squad who have accrued two seasons of NFL experience, which allows a fringe player the chance to stay with the team, even if he already has been in the league, while also allowing the teams to keep more veteran players.

Accrued seasons are earned by being on the active (53-man) roster for a team for six games in a single regular season.

Salary

Practice squad players receive a weekly salary, though there are no guarantees so they can be cut at any time. The practice squad minimum salary is $6,900 a week, or $117,300 for the year. Teams can choose to pay a practice squad player more, which teams will do when they like a player and are trying to keep him with the squad. Otherwise, he could be poached by another team.

What is poaching?

Practice squad players want to be 53-man roster, NFL players. The NFL allows a practice squad player to be signed by another team, if they are going to put him on their 53-man roster. When this happens, the player is giving a guaranteed three-week salary and he is added to the 53-man roster for three weeks - even if the team decides to release him before those three weeks are up. There are other rules as well, including limiting when a team can sign a practice squad player from their next opponent (six days prior to the game, or ten days if he is on a bye week), but those are not major ones you need to understand the practice squad.

What if a team promotes their own practice squad player?

A team can choose to sign their own practice squad player to the 53-man roster as well. Often, a team will use the practice squad to keep depth in case of injuries, so they will call up players if an injury occurs. Teams will also call a player up to the 53-man roster if they feel another team is trying to poach a player the original teams wants to keep.

When can teams start signing practice squad players?

Typically, any player who has cleared waivers and fits the eligibility criteria, can sign with a practice squad. A player who is released from a practice squad are also free to sign with another practice squad. When it comes to the final round of roster cuts - which happened on Saturday - the league shotgun starts the practice squad signing an hour after the waiver period ends. That means teams can start signing players to the practice squad as of 1pm ET Sunday.