Time for NFL to consider a version of NBA’s 10 day contract?

Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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NFL should consider a new temporary contract option

When the NFL played 14 games, it made no sense to consider any options to temporarily contract players to the team. And when the NFL/NFLPA expanded that to 16 games, the need for a shorter duration contract to help bridge an NFL roster began to make sense. But now the regular season has expanded to 17 games, 18 weeks (4.5 months), and postseason play that extends the season for NFL playoff teams through another 6 weeks (1.5 months).

It’s time for the NFL to consider a version of the NBA’s 10-day contract. Let’s call it an NFL 21-day contract. With this contract, an NFL team can sign a player for 21 days or three games, whichever is longer. If the team desires to do so, they can re-sign that player for a second 21-day window and three games.

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NFL 21-day contract benefits

So what does this afford an NFL team that a regular contract and waiver process does not offer the team? Two things actually. The current contractual process forces NFL teams to waive players, forcing them to be subject to NFL waiver priority, before being cleared to sign back to the team’s practice squad. One of the benefits of this newer short-duration contract would be the elimination of the NFL waiver process. A player signed for 21 days is an immediate free agent, and can immediately sign with any team he so desires.

Because the NFL season is 17 games, that additional amount of playing time forces teams to play veterans on special teams as well as on a rotational basis. A short-duration contract allows the team to bridge players who can contribute on special teams but who may not have the right proficiency to be considered for roles on either offense or defense.