NFL practice squad players are typically paid $5,200 a week, which translates to $88,400 for a full season. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are paying one practice squad player a salary of $310,000. And Bengals coach Marvin Lewis isn’t happy about that.
The player is wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe, a sixth-round draft pick of the Bengals this year. When Briscoe didn’t make the Bengals’ 53-man roster at the end of the preseason, they wanted to add him to their own practice squad. But the Bucs offered Briscoe significantly more money, so he joined Tampa Bay’s practice squad instead. And while that doesn’t violate the letter of the league rules, Lewis thinks it does violate the rules’ spirit.
“When you overpay a guy on the practice squad, you create a problem in the system for teams,” Lewis said, per PewterReport.com. “I don’t know that teams want to set that precedent. They did with Dez. That’s not the great precedent for teams to set as we try to keep the NFL doing the things we’re trying to do as a league. It’s still a league of 32 teams and things are put together a certain way.”
But while Lewis doesn’t like what the Bucs did, Briscoe likes it a lot.
“They signed me up and paid me more than the practice squad usually gets, knowing that I will have a chance to really come in and help the team,” Briscoe said. “That shows their commitment to me and I appreciate it.”
Briscoe is right: For all the talk that the Bucs are cheap, this is a case of a team investing a little more money to get a talented player. And if Lewis has a problem with that, his problem should be with Bengals owner Mike Brown for not matching the Bucs’ offer.