The NFL is expected to increase the size of Practice Squads across the league, reports Adam Schefter. Each team will now be allowed to sign ten players to their squad, up from the previous number of eight. This is great news for players -- there are now 64 additional NFL jobs -- and it's also welcome news for teams, particularly those that believe in development of these types of prospects.
The Seahawks are definitely among the teams that heavily utilize their practice squad for development. Jermaine Kearse, Ricardo Lockette, B.J. Daniels, DeShawn Shead, and many others have found their way from the Practice Squad to the active roster. For a volume-drafting team like the Seahawks, it's also an avenue to retain some of their late round picks that have a tougher time in making the team.
Things will surely change over the next few weeks, but a few candidates for this year's Practice Squad include receivers Kevin Smith and Arceto Clark, tight ends Rashaun Allen and Morrell Presley, offensive linemen Nate Isles and Cory Brandon, nose tackle Andru Pulu, defensive lineman Jimmy Staten, linebacker Jackson Jeffcoat, defensive backs Terrence Parks and Akeem Auguste, and several others.
Here is the official language of the new rule change:
NFL PRACTICE SQUADS EXPAND TO 10 PLAYERS
The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed to expand NFL Practice Squads for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Absent an extension of the agreement, the current rules will be reinstated beginning with the 2016 season.
Under the agreement, 2014 and 2015 Practice Squads will increase from the current maximum of eight players to 10 players.
In addition, the criteria for Practice Squad eligibility has been expanded in two respects.
First, a player must have a minimum of six games - up from the current three games - on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player's three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.
Second, each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club's 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.
All other practice squad rules under Article 33 of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in effect during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.