LA Rams News: Reviewing NFL team 2020 roster requirements

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

LA Rams News: Rules for NFL rosters have changed in 2020, so it’s a good time to review team roster regulations

The NFL has long held the rules about the NFL roster in check. The training camp roster was set at 90. NFL active rosters, the roster teams carried for the NFL season, was set to 53. And a team’s training camp roster was set to ten players.  In fact, the only time an NFL team’s roster made the news on a regular basis was during the period when teams added players to achieve the 90 man roster, and when teams reduced their rosters to achieve the season-high limit of 53.

But the new NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement ratified earlier this year has significant changes in store for NFL team roster size.  To begin with, the NFL 53 man roster does remain intact. Of that number, the team is required to have at least eight offensive linemen on the roster.  By doing so, the team will be able to carry as many as 48 players on the active roster on game day. Failure to have the eight offensive lineman minimum limits a team to just 47 players on the active roster on game day.

Practice squads and game-day rosters

NFL practice squads will see the most direct impact, as the roster expands for 2020 and 2021 from 10 players to 12 players and up to 14 players in 2022. That is significant because the effect of expanding the roster for one team is multiplied across the 32 team spectrum.  By 2022, 128 additional players will be employed by NFL teams. Filling those additional roster spots will place an increasing amount of pressure on NFL team personnel departments to find NFL-worthy talent to place onto the practice squad.

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But each week of an NFL game, an NFL team can promote up to two players from the practice squad to the active roster. Those practice squad players can be called up to an active roster two times and then returned to the practice squad before the player is subjected to the waiver process. In that scenario, the player is officially cut and must clear waivers of other NFL teams in order to be re-signed to the team’s practice squad. If the player is claimed by another team, the counter is reset and they can be called up two more times by the new NFL team until subject to waivers.

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Roster limits effect huge in 2020

NFL rules and limits to rosters will play a huge impact on the 2020 NFL season. As we had reported previously, the preseason will be reduced from four games to just two games as the NFL tries to lengthen the preparation time for the new season. And the amount of time needed to prepare the Rams for the season has been whittled down to the bare minimum. The 2020 offseason is setting up to give teams with little to no roster turnover a huge advantage this season.   The Rams have virtually returned nearly the entire 2019 offense intact with the exception of running back Cam Akers taking over for veteran Todd Gurley.

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Are the Rams ready for training camp? That remains to be seen. But the roster regulations, changed in the ratified CBA, are already subject to additional conversations and tweaking from the NFL-NFLPA due to the likelihood of COVID-19 devastating team rosters during the 2020 NFL season. So far, the NFL is proposing adding a quarterback roster spot to a team’s practice squad as a “Quarantine quarterback”, who can be activated in the case of the team’s starter contracting the coronavirus during the season.  There is also a discussion to expand the team’s practice squad roster to 16 this season to allow for greater flexibility in the likelihood of a coronavirus breakout among team players.