LA Rams benefit from latest NFL/NFLPA rule amendment to practice squad

Mandatory Credit: John McCoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John McCoy-USA TODAY Sports /

How often can you say that the LA Rams get a boost from rules changes at this time of year in the NFL? I don’t believe that it happens often. But this year may be an exception. The rules are changing for the NFL practice squads for the 2022 NFL season, and I’m here for it.

The NFL and NFLPA are not always at the cutting edge of getting things correct, but I’m very happy with their latest rules amendment. This will have a huge positive impact on the LA Rams, who made active use of elevating PS players to augment their active roster throughout the 2021 NFL season.

Now, the rules for the practice squads are relaxing a bit for the 2022 NFL season. What’s changing? Well, per NFL Insider Ian Rapoport’s latest, we can look for the following changes for this year, as per his latest:

Okay, so who really has time to read the fine print? Well, we do, so we can break this all down for you:

Practice squad roster increases from 14 to 16

The most recently ratified Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL and NFLPA allowed for NFL teams to increase the size of their practice squads from 10 players to 12 players in 2020 and 2021, and then increase the number of players to 14 beginning in 2022. But due to the advance of COVID-19, the NFL and NFLPA made emergency revisions to the maximum number to allow a sufficient pool of players to be available in the unfortunate circumstances that active players tested positive for the coronavirus.

The LA Rams will benefit greatly from this rule change. As you likely know, the Rams love to sign and coach up rookies to fit future roles with the team. With the permanent increase in the practice squad roster, the Rams will be able to retain (redshirt) up to 16 players now. That is huge, as the team routinely and actively manages the practice squad as an extension of the active roster.

Retaining the roster size at 16 will be significant this year. For example, the LA Rams may now choose to retain Cameron Dicker on the practice squad and use him as the emergency backup for either Matt Gay or Riley Dixon throughout the 2022 NFL season. How so? Well, the second rule change helps to explain that.

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Practice squad players can be elevated three times in a season

The LA Rams were very active in elevating practice squad players for NFL games throughout the 2021 NFL season. Typically, the elevated players found themselves primarily contributing on special teams, thereby allowing the active roster to focus more on the rotational or backup roles of either the offensive or defensive side of the ball.

The only problem was that teams were only authorized to elevate a player temporarily to the active roster for a game twice per season (with exceptions allowed for positive COVID-19 testing). The LA Rams elevated practice squad OLB Justin Lawler in both of the first two games of the 2021 season.  After that number of actions take place, teams must then waive the player and then sign the player to a contract on the 53-man roster.

The new rule allows teams to elevate a player three times in a season before that player is subject to waivers and signing a contract for the 53-man roster. That is another huge plus for the LA Rams. The Rams elevated two players almost each and every regular-season game. Now, with 16 players on the practice squad roster this season, and three elevations, that will allow the team to augment their active 53-man roster with 48 slots for game day.

Pat yourselves on the back, NFL and NFLPA executives. You exceeded expectations with this one.

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