The NFL and NFLPA have announced a new agreement pertaining to the 2020 NFL season. Part of those sweeping changes were overhauls to the practice squad, including elevating players to the active roster.
Perhaps the largest change we will see is the time frame for which players can be elevated to the active roster. Previously, if you were going to move a player from the practice squad to the active roster, you had to do it by the Saturday before a Sunday game. Now that deadline has been extended to the inactive roster submission 90 minutes before the start of a game.
This change is to protect teams in the event they receive a batch of COVID-19 test results on Sunday morning that include a positive player. Now they can place that player on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and immediately call up a player from the practice squad.
Practice squads were expanded to 16 players and six of those players have no limit on the number of accrued NFL seasons. In 2020, the practice squad won’t just be young guys looking for a break. Veterans can be stashed there. This keeps the players in your building AND in your testing protocol in case they need to play that weekend.
Along with the changes, four players can be protected at 4 PM Eastern on Tuesday through the end of your game that weekend. That keeps 57 players at minimum for you to work with between your 53-man roster and four-man protected practice squad. Once the game is over, those four protected players are unprotected until Tuesday.
As Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane explained on Sunday, it’s going to be difficult to sign guys off other teams’ practice squads and expect them to play that week because of the testing protocols. A team’s practice squad is going to be so much more important in 2020.