The Notorious Practice Squad
May 4 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
In the NFL thereís little grey area. Either you are on a teams roster or you are notÖ well ok, not quite. Thereís also that small group of players 150 in the NFL who are allocated to practice squads. Essentially a player on a team practice squad is a restricted free agent. If they are offered a roster spot somewhere else, they can take it, but only if their current team doesnít want to promote them. Thatís what happened to New England receiver Jimmy Farris last season when he was pulled from the 49ers practice squad.
Teams are permitted to keep five players on the squad, which is assembled after the final cut down day. Players added to the squad must clear the waivers of every other NFL team before being added to a teamís practice squad. When owners meet later this month though, the rules guiding the practice squad are likely to change.
NFL teams are expecting to be able to carry six practice squad players on their rosters, as long as one of those players is a quarterback. The idea is to allow teams to be able to work on grooming a quarterback in their system. Ideally this system will help prevent keep young NFL quarterbacks employed, even on teams who are already set at the top three positions.
As a result of the expected rule change, many teams, including the 49ers drafted an extra quarterback in the 2002 draft. Brandon Doman was the 49ers choice out of BYU, but he may not be the practice squad QB on the team. Depending on how the competition plays out, it could also be Aaron Garcia or Giovanni Carmazzi.