Several Packers regain practice-squad eligibility
Ten players on the Packers' roster regained practice-squad eligibility following the changes the NFL announced to eligibility requirements Tuesday.
Half of those those, including reigning offensive rookie of the year Eddie Lacy, never will see the light of day on the practice squad, but it could come in handy for a few others on the bubble.
The new rules expanded not only the practice squad to 10 players but also the eligibility for some. The first change is a player must now have a minimum of six games on a practice squad in order for that season to count as one of the player's three permissible seasons of service. Previously, it only took three to count.
Second, each club can sign a maximum of two practice-squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. In the past, a player who has spent more than eight games in a single season on a team's game-day roster lost his eligibility.
It provides a safety net for four former undrafted free agents – safety Chris Banjo (16 games), linebacker Andy Mulumba (14 games), tight end Jake Stoneburner (nine games) and offensive lineman Lane Taylor (10 games) – who wouldn't have been eligible otherwise.
"I always was told you want to get your foot in the door, even if it's just through practice squad," said Stoneburner, who started last year on the practice squad. "Around here, you're a part of the team. You might not be in the game, but you're out there battling. You're getting paid, as well, and you get to learn. It's a good opportunity for them to see you. … and you can get called up at any time either here or somebody else, so it's not a bad gig."
Practice-squad players will receive a minimum salary of $6,300 per week, totaling $107,100 should they hold on for all 17 weeks of the regular season.
It's been an important resource in Green Bay. Stoneburner, receiver Myles White and cornerback Jumal Rolle all spent time on the practice squad before signing onto the active roster last season.
"I think that's a very good move to be able to have 10 people on the practice squad," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "Towards the end of the season, you start getting injuries and you have a hard time practicing sometimes. You have to turn practices into walk-throughs because you just don't have enough bodies to go out and you don't want to overwork your guys if you're having to play that weekend."