In a year in which the Patriots have received significant contributions from their rookie class, seventh-round draft choice Darryl Richard has been working behind the scenes on the practice squad.
The Patriots are apparently pleased with Richard's progress, as they recently upped his salary from $150,000 to $310,000, paying him as if had a spot on the 53-man active roster. A defensive lineman, Richard was selected 234th overall out of Georgia Tech.
In addition to Richard, the Patriots also upped the salary of practice squad offensive lineman Ryan Wendell to $310,000.
When increases like that happen during the season, it usually means that: 1) The team is showing a commitment to the player that it wants to keep working with him in future years even though there isn't a spot for him on the current roster; 2) Another NFL team has made a bid to sign the player to their active roster and the Patriots responded in an attempt to keep the player.
One interesting story behind the scenes this year came when the Cleveland Browns attempted to sign cornerback Kyle Arrington off the Patriots' practice squad. The Patriots responded by creating a roster spot for Arrington.
A different outcome occurred when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered receiver Terrence Nunn a spot on their 53-man roster from the Patriots' practice squad. In that case, the Patriots didn't make a move to open a roster spot for Nunn.