Basically, the practice squad is a bunch of rookies who want to break into the main team. Further, these players get paid for it.
What is an NFL Practice Squad?
All the NFL teams have a main team roster comprising 53 featured players. The practice squad, apart from this, consists of a maximum of 8 players. These are the players who are sort of waiting in the wings to get some action on the field. These players practice shoulder to shoulder with the featured players, even simulating the opponents, but of course, they do not play in the actual games. For instance, they are those players who were on the team in course of training camps and even pre-season, but failed to make the final cut. Primarily, these are rookies waiting to get a breakthrough into the main team. In addition to this, if a player has never made it to the 53 member squad, or has been in that list just for a single season, and has played fewer than 9 games, he can also be considered to be a part of the practice squad. Players can be in the practice squad for a limited period of 3 years. In addition, a player cannot participate in the practice squad in case he has accrued a year of NFL experience, which involves 6 or more games on a club's 53-man active roster, or if the player is on the official 'Injured Reserve' list.
Well, now that we know what a practice squad is all about, let us move on to their salary aspect. The minimum, to begin with, is around $5,000 a week. This is received by them for 17 weeks. That makes it $88,400 per season, which is hardly anything as compared to the players who are on the main roster. In a few cases though, practice squad members might get paid more. For instance, a player (part of practice squad) for New England Patriots got paid an amount which he would have, in due course, got as a part of the main team. Apart from the 17 weeks, if the team makes it to the playoffs and has to play additional weeks, this amount may vary.
This amount, around $5,000, can change. If there is no cap, it can increase by around $500. A few years back, the salary was around $4,700 a week. The salary drawn by these players are determined by collective bargaining agreement.
Even though the rules in connection with the salary are set, as mentioned above, some teams do pay more to some of their practice squad members.