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Chicago Bears 16-man practice squad

Here is the current practice squad for the Bears, plus the NFL’s 2023 practice squad rules.

Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

On October 4, the Chicago Bears signed corner Christian Matthew to the practice squad and released safety Macon Clark.

We’ll update this all season long as the Bears make changes.

  1. Micah Baskerville, LB
  2. Travis Bell, DT
  3. Robert Burns, FB
  4. Stephen Carlson, TE
  5. Austen Pleasants, OT
  6. DeMarquis Gates, LB
  7. Jalen Harris, DE
  8. Nsimba Webster, WR
  9. Kendall Williamson, S
  10. Deslin Alexandre, DE
  11. Daniel Hardy, DE
  12. Bill Murray, OL
  13. John Parker Romo, K
  14. A.J. Thomas, S
  15. Matt Farniok, OL
  16. Christian Matthew, CB
  17. *Roy Mbaeteka, OL

*The International Pathway Program grants the Bears a 17th slot exemption if they want to keep Mbaeteka around all year to practice with the team.

Practice Squad Rules

  • Each week, teams can elevate two players to the gameday roster, and this can happen with a player three times before he needs to be signed to their active roster.
  • Practice squad players are free agents and able to sign with any other team’s active roster, i.e., current clubs can not block a move to another 53-man roster. They can offer their practice squad player an active roster contract to stay.
  • If a player signs with another team’s active roster, he must stay there for at least three weeks.
  • A practice squadder can not leave one practice squad for another.
  • A practice squad player may not sign a contract with his team’s next opponent after 3 p.m. (CT) six days prior to the game or 10 days prior in bye weeks.

Practice squad eligibility

Our sister site, Behind the Steel Curtain, explained the confusing eligibility requirements as well as anyone, so I’ll share that here.

There are three different categories of players who are eligible for the practice squad. The first category which used to make up almost the entire allowance of the practice squad are players with no more than one accrued NFL season. Additionally, a player who appeared in more than nine games during that accrued season does not fit into this category. A team can have as many of their 16 players as they choose in this category, but based on the limitations of the other two categories teams must have at least six players who meet this requirement.

The next category of players are ones who have not earned more than two accrued NFL seasons. In this category, there is no requirement for the number of games they played. Teams may have up to 10 players who fit into this category.

The third category of players on the practice squad is one that began in 2020 and has changed the way teams look at the practice squad. Each team can have as many as six players with unlimited accrued seasons on the practice squad. These players are not in addition to the 10 from the previous category, but are a subset within the category of players with more than one accrued season. In other words, if a team has four players on the practice squad with unlimited accrued seasons, they could have another six that have two accrued seasons.

The league monitors and notifies each team so they know exactly how many of each category they are allowed to have at a time.

Check out the Bears’ current 53-man roster here.