NFL practice squads have already expanded from 10 to 12 players for the 2020 season as part of the league's new collective bargaining agreement and could be increasing even more.
Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the NFL has proposed to the NFLPA an expansion of the practice squad from 12 to 16 players. The practice squad rules would look a bit different than in previous seasons.
- Practice squad jumps from 12 to 16 players, increasing overall roster size from 67 players (55 active roster, 12 practice squad) to 71.
- Up to six members of the practice squad will have no limitation on number of accrued seasons (basically a team can have veterans on the practice squad, no matter how many years they played).
- In the event of an outbreak, the minimum amount of six practice-squad players that can be promoted would be removed. An unlimited amount of players from the practice squad would be eligible for promotion to the active roster, at any point up to 90 minutes before kickoff.
For practice squad players to get promoted immediately, the positive diagnosis of COVID-19 must occur after the 4.p.m. ET roster transaction deadline. Teams can adjust their rosters to compensate for the positive test accordingly.
Here are the current practice squad rules in place, set by the new CBA earlier this year:
- Practice squad eligibility rules include players with less than one accrued NFL season (six games on an active roster), players who have been on an active roster for fewer than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season(s), players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons with any number of games and players with any number of accrued seasons.
- A team may only have a maximum of four players on the practice squad based on the third category and a maximum of two players based on the fourth.
Active rosters were expanded from 53 to 55 this season, with 47 being allowed to dress on game day. That number increases to 48 if a team dresses an eighth offensive lineman. Those rules could be altered in the coming weeks, especially with COVID-19 protocols headlining the NFL season.