The Pittsburgh Steelers waived wide receiver/quarterback Tyler Murphy on Wednesday to make room on their 53-man roster for cornerback Doran Grant, who had been on the team’s practice squad since the start of the season. After that transaction took place, I received a question from a reader asking why the Steelers were able to cut Murphy prior to him not being on the roster for three weeks being as he, also, had been signed from the practice squad.
While I have covered this CBA rule in the past, I think it’s a perfect time to go over it again.
When a team promotes players from their own practice squad they are not obligated to keep them on their 53-man roster for three weeks, nor are they obligated to pay them three game checks. If, however, a team signs a player from another team’s practice squad, then the signing team must account for that player on their 53-man roster for the next three weeks even if they decide to terminate his contract. And, the player then receives three game checks.
This rule is written very clearly in the CBA under Article 33 and I have it for you below. I hope this clears things up for you.
Section 2. Signing With Other Clubs:
- (a) Any player under contract to a Club as a Practice Squad player shall be completely free to negotiate and sign a Player Contract with any Club at any time during the League Year, to serve as a player on any Club’s Active or Inactive List, and any Club is completely free to negotiate and sign such a Player Contract with such player, without penalty or restriction, including, but not limited to, Draft Choice Compensation between Clubs or First Refusal Rights of any kind, or any signing period, except that such player shall not be permitted to sign a Player Contract with another Club to serve as a Practice Squad player while under contract as a Practice Squad player.
- (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (a) above, a Practice Squad player may not sign an NFL Player Contract with his Club’s next opponent later than 4:00pm, New York time, on the sixth day preceding the game (except in bye weeks, when the prohibition commences on the tenth day preceding the game). When the current employer club has a bye the weekend before the game against the Club signing the Practice Squad player to an NFL Player Contract, such contract must be executed prior to 4:00pm, New York time, on the 10th day preceding the game.
Section 5. Active List:
- If a player on the Practice Squad of one club (Club A) signs an NFL Player Contract with another club (Club B), (1) the player shall receive three weeks salary of his NFL Player Contract at the 53-player Active/Inactive List minimum even if he is terminated by Club B prior to earning that amount, and (2) Club B is required to count the player on its 53-player Active/Inactive List for three games (a bye week counts as a game) even if he is terminated, traded, or assigned via waivers to another club or is signed as a free agent to another club’s 53-player roster or another club’s Practice Squad prior to that time. If the player is terminated from Club B’s 53-player roster and signed to Club B’s Practice Squad, he shall continue to count on the club’s 53-player Ac-tive/Inactive List but shall not count against the ten-player Practice Squad limit until the three-game requirement has been fulfilled. If a player is terminated prior to the com-pletion of the three-game period and is signed to Club B’s Practice Squad or is signed or assigned to another Club’s 53-player roster or Practice Squad, any Salary (as that term is defined in Article 13, Section 4 that he receives from any NFL club applicable to the three-game period shall be an offset against the three weeks’ Salary that he is entitled to receive from Club B. If the promotion occurs with fewer than three games remaining in the Club’s regular season, the three game requirement for roster count shall not carry over into the next season.