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Changes give a few hope for practice squad

The NFL has given Cardinals coach Bruce Arians -- along with its 31 other head coaches -- the opportunity to keep two more players on their practice squads.

Changes to the league’s practice squad rules announced Tuesday will increase the unit from eight to 10 players starting Aug. 31 when teams can start signing those 10 players. The changes also expanded the eligibility requirements.

The new rules will allow teams to sign two practice-squad players who don’t have more than two accrued seasons, which, in the Cardinals' case, means every player drafted since 2012. The other eight players fall under the current rules, which state they would be ineligible for the practice squad if they were on the active roster for more than eight games in any of their accrued seasons.

The other rule change increased the minimum number of games a player needs on a practice squad for it to count toward the NFL’s limit of three practice-squad seasons from three to six.

The changes will be enacted only in 2014 and 2015. The current rules will be back in place for 2016.

While the new exception opens the door for the Cardinals to sign anyone from the past three draft classes to their practice squad, it’s geared more toward them keeping players from the 2012 and 2013 classes who played a lot their rookie and/or second seasons but might not have a place on this season's roster.

A few possibilities to take advantage of the new exception are quarterback Ryan Lindley, tackle Nate Potter, tackle Bradley Sowell and linebacker Adrian Tracy. But, like anyone else eligible for a spot on the practice squad, they have to clear waivers before the Cardinals can sign them to their practice squad on the last day of August.