In the aftermath of yesterday’s roster cut down, NFL team evaluated the players released and weighed their needs against who was available. Claiming a waived player was an option if that player had less than 4 years of accrued NFL experience up until noon today. The Giants did not announce any waiver claims today. Players with more than 4 years of experience were immediate unrestricted free agents, free to sign with any team upon their release. At noon, all the released players, if eligible, could be signed to the recently expanded 10 man practice squad. These will be the first players up at their respective positions when injuries inevitably occur. The Giants have filled seven of their ten slots. Before we reveal the names of the players added, lets first review the practice squad eligibility rules.
A player is eligible for the practice squad for two years if he has been on an active NFL game day roster less than 9 games. Once the player has been on the practice squad for three weeks, it’s considered an accrued practice squad year. There are rare instances when a third year is permitted, if their team keeps 53 players in the active roster at all times during the first two years of eligibility. It doesn’t have to be the same 53 players, just a full roster throughout. If a third year of eligibility is earned, only one week on the squad qualifies as the third year accrued, and further eligibility expires. Unless…
In 2014, two slots were added for players that have accrued no more than two seasons of free agency credit in the league. A player needs to be on an active game day roster for 6 games to earn free agency credit. Technically, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck would be eligible for these two “Exception” slots if they cleared waivers, as any player must do before joining a practice squad. Of course, neither of these players would make it through the waiver process.
The minimum salary for a practice squad player is $6,300 per week ($107,100 for the season) and does count towards the salary cap. There is no maximum, so a team can pay more to entice a player to join. Any team can sign a player off another team’s squad, but that player must be put on the active game day roster, so it’s a rare occurrence. They cannot be signed by the upcoming opponent unless it’s done six days in advance of the game (Ten if the opponent is on bye). A player must be released before he can be signed to another team’s practice squad. Once a player is promoted to the active roster, he receives three game checks, even if he’s not on the roster for the three games.
Now that we understand the rules, let’s look at who the Giants added. Running Back Michael Cox was on the Giants 2013 roster for 14 games last season and made one start. He was among their final cuts yesterday, losing the third running back spot to Peyton Hillis. He takes up one of the two “Exception” slots for the Giants.
Offensive tackle Nick Becton on with the San Diego Chargers practice squad for most 2013 after signing with them as an undrafted free agent. He was on their active roster for one game, against Oakland in October. After playing primarily left tackle in 2013, Becton was tried at both left and right tackle during the 2014 preseason and rated out average according to the statistical analysis site Pro Football Focus (Subscription required). The 6’5″, 323 pound Becton attended college at Virginia Tech. He counts against the Giants eight base practice squad slots.
The remainder of those signed were released from the team yesterday – linebacker Dan Fox, cornerback Bennett Jackson, defensive end Jordan Stanton, cornerback Chandler Fenner, and Wide Receiver Julian Talley. Talley was on the Giants active roster for two games in 2013, and the rest of the players are rookies, and therefore count against the base eight slots. All but Talley were projected to be signed by Giants360.com
One player waived by the Giants, defensive tackle Kelcey Quarles, was claimed by the New England Patriots. He was expected to be signed to the Giants practice squad if he had cleared waivers.
Another interesting note on the day, it’s Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s 68th birthday. One can only hope to be as sharp and have as much energy, drive, and enthusiasm at his age.
The Giants have three spots remaining on their practice squad, two for players with less than 9 active games on a NFL roster and one for a player with no more than 2 years of accrued free agency credit. It’s also expected that some roster moves will be made before the season opener on September 8th. Check back here for the names or follow @Giants360 on Twitter for breaking news, notes, and rumors. And follow the author on Twitter, @hyprcaffeinated.