NFL expands practice squad to 10

The New Orleans Saints stand for the national The New Orleans Saints stand for the national anthem during the first preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Aug. 15, 2014 in New Orleans. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Stacy Revere

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NFL teams can carry 10 players on their practice squads for the next two seasons.

The league and the players' union agreed Tuesday to increase the number of practice squad members from eight to 10.

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"It's the No. 1 way for teams to develop players because ... once the season starts, those guys are a part of the team," Saints coach Sean Payton said in support of the change. "They're involved in drills. They're involved in every element. All you have to do is look at the past five years, practice squad players that are now on the 53-man rosters, and there's a ton of them."

Also, criteria for practice squad eligibility has been expanded in two categories.

A player must have a minimum of six games on a practice squad -- increased from the previous three games -- for that year to count as one of three permissible seasons on the squad.

And each team now can sign a maximum of two practice squad players who have earned no more than two NFL seasons toward free agency. Aside from that exception, a player with one or more accrued seasons can't go on a practice squad unless he spent fewer than nine games on a club's 46-player active list in each of his pro seasons.

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