Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Practice Squad Eligibility

by: Michael Steffes

According to Frank Hughes, the teams standard operating procedure has been to wait until the day after an MRI to disclose the injury. That means no Lofa news tonight, or Frye if you are really worried. But here is something I am going to go ahead and get out of the way. Feel free to book mark this.

I have seen in the last few weeks a lot of, this guy to the practice squad, that guy to the practice squad and I would say about 50% of the time, the player isn't even eligible. So.... here is my official post about practice squad eligibility. I am not going to cut and paste league rules, I am going to try to explain it in simple terms and give clear examples to hopefully eliminate all future confusion. TO READ UP ON THE PS....

First off, the player has to be eligible. Here are the main components.

A player CAN NOT have been on an active roster for 9 or more games. At 9 games, a player accrues a season of experience. If you look at the roster and see one or more years of experience, that player can not be on your PS. Atkins, Obamanu, and Mansfield Wrotto are all prime examples of this.

A player CAN NOT have spent two years on practice squad, anywhere. A player is given two years PS eligibility, once they use it up it is gone. A guy like Joe Newton, or Kyle Williams who spent last year on the PS, can go back in 08, but would have to make the team in 09. Dallas Sartz spent last year on the PS with Minnesota, but he can still spend a year with us. That is fine. A player is considered to have spent a year on the PS if they are there for 3 or more regular season or playoff games. David Kirtman is the winner here. He has spent two years on the PS, and now must make the team or be released.

Now, how do we put players on the practice squad....

On Saturday, all rosters will be trimmed to 53 players. Just like today, the players who are cut(released) are sent to waivers. Any team now has the opportunity to claim that player to their 53 (today it would be 75) man roster. If the player clears waivers then he can sign to a practice squad. The player is not limited to the practice squad of the team releasing him. Joel Filani, who the Hawks cut today, could end up on the Dolphins practice squad next week, just as the Seahawks could end up with someone cut by Atlanta, for example.

While on the practice squad, any team can sign that player to their active 53 man roster, essentially taking the player away. Many of you may have heard that either Logan Payne or Jordan Kent was offered this opportunity last year and chose to stay with the Hawks on the practice squad. One way that some classy (well funded) organizations can make this difficult is by paying the PS guys the normal rookie salary that an active player would make. The PS guys usually make about 1/3 of that.

It is possible the Hawks were paying either Payne or Kent the rookie minimum salary, so that an opportunity elsewhere didn't look that much better. I suspect the Hawks do this with players they want to keep around, but I have no confirmation. Coutu seems to be a prime opportunity for this treatment this year. That way, he makes the same money as if he is the kicker in Kansas City, but instead he waits for the job to open here. All the while getting much needed experience at this level. Of course, he has to clear waivers first which might be tricky, except that he is hurt. No team really wants to carry two kickers unless there is a lot of value in it.

Also, the PS is made up of a maximum of 8 players. The Hawks will have 9 because they have one of the international exceptions this year, Samuel G (im not looking it up).

Hope this clarifies the interworkings of the mysterious practice squad. In the future this may help as you all try to figure out the final 53. By my account, the guys who are likely to make up the practice squad this year are...

Dalton Bell, the team will want another arm at practice, unless someone better gets released

Joe Newton, he needs to bulk up

Kyle Williams, one more year will do him good

Kevin Brown, They seem to like him. They brought him back, so he makes sense here

Jamar Adams, the team always needs extra secondary guys to run practice

Michael Bumpus, same goes for WR's and this one is worth holding on to

Dallas Sartz, the team is going to need linebackers just for practices sake. They may even find another one.

Brandon Coutu, it is a killer to waste this spot, but they will want him close, and probably pay him his full salary as insurance in case Mare falters.

And of course, Sammy the German guard. Assuming his back is ready in a couple of weeks or so.