The LA Rams have just over 24 hours to waive five players to meet the 80-player ceiling. Just one week after that, on August 31, 2021, the LA Rams will need to pare down the roster to the 53-player active roster for the 2021 NFL season. That’s a lot of players to hit the streets all at once and will certainly be a bit chaotic in terms of teams trying to bolster their rosters by claiming any last-minute additions.
But the NFL and NFLPA have taken a huge step in the right direction. In short, the league will continue to follow the 2020 roster flexibility rules that were installed to aid teams to manage limited personnel while the threat of a very contagious coronavirus pandemic remains through 2021.
To meet the demands of increased flexibility to adapt to the threat of multiple player quarantines due to a positive test of COVID-19, a number of rules were amended. The question was whether those new rules would be honored in 2021. If not, the LA Rams along with 31 other NFL teams would be facing just 12 player practice squads for 2021. We now have the answer.
So what rules are we talking about here? Well, the first rule was to increase the size of the practice squad to 16 players. (Due to the LA Rams’ participation in the International Player Pathway program, the Rams will be able to carry 16 players plus Max Pircher). That increase is intended to allow NFL teams to carry an emergency unique player skillset like a punter, placekicker, and long snapper while maintaining enough roster spots to develop young not-quite-ready players.
Another very popular rule that will extend into 2021 is the unlimited number of Injured Reserve slots and requiring players to sit out just three weeks. The Rams already have been hampered by injuries, and the ability to designate players who may not be ready for the season opener (OLB Terrell Lewis) will enable the Rams to be more patient about handling those players suffering from unique medical circumstances.
This extension of 2020 roster rules will definitely benefit the LA Rams in 2021. Even though 16 players may still not be enough, it is certainly a far cry better than 12 member rosters, particularly as the league faces a 17-game season.