Discussions regarding 2020 roster ongoing between NFL, NFLPA

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The NFL’s challenge as it relates to the pandemic includes two major components. First, the league must keep the spread of the virus to a minimum. Second, the league must be prepared to backfill roster spots if/when players test positive and are quarantined.

As to the latter, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said in a Thursday conference call with reporters that the league and the NFL Players Association continue to have discussions regarding roster issues arising from positive tests.

It may not be enough, as previously explained, to simply expand the practice squads from 12 to 16. In the event of a true outbreak that knocks out 10 or more players, teams will need to be able to clear roster spots on a temporary basis and to fill those spots with game-ready players.

Setting aside the question of whether a coach may have a player lie about testing positive in order to stash him for a few weeks on the COVID-19 list, teams may need plenty of players, quickly. And the usual Gong Show process of bringing in a group of tryout players may not be enough, if for example a given position group is decimated and a team is looking at hiring an offensive lineman off the street to protect a quarterback making $30 million or more per year.

The XFL had a ninth team of players, who were kept in game shape in the event one of the eight franchises needed replacements. The NFL may have to set up multiple teams (maybe four), hiring coaches like Hue Jackson and Jeff Fisher to keep everyone ready to go.

Baseball is thinking about something like that. As Jayson Stark of TheAthletic.com recently reported, MLB may have two teams of unsigned players, who would serve as an emergency pool in the event of outbreaks.

If the NFL doesn’t have a similar process in place, things could get very dicey for teams that find themselves down a sizable chunk of the roster only a day or two before a game.

15 responses to “Discussions regarding 2020 roster ongoing between NFL, NFLPA

  1. Moving to an alternating weekly schedule (WK1A / WK1B) might remedy the tremendous personnel requirement by providing a gap week to quarantine C-19 players for the needed time (or at least reduce the roster impact of these players) expand the TV audience and make for fresher football players and potentially better games. This could be executed for as long as needed and terminated if a vaccine becomes available or until a better plan is constructed.

  2. Teams with only one or two players in quarantine against a team with 10 would definitely have a competitive advantage. And what if a QB like Mahomes or Brady or heck any starter is out for two weeks. Trying to play through a pandemic has disaster written all over it…

  3. Even if one player is infected, wouldn’t it require the entire team including coaches to isolate?
    Isolating just that player may not prevent other players from showing symptoms later.

  4. It’s cute how the NFL continues to fantasize about a 2020 season. No way they can pull it off. Not that I think it is dangerous. The public outcry when a team suddenly has 10-12 people infected will sink their hopes. Can you imagine the fiasco if one team gets sick a few days after having played and their opponent the previous week suddenly has to quarantine? Probably won’t come to that. Preseason camps will probably be a chaotic mess first, and the same pressure the UFC felt will sink the NFL. UFC is small enough to figure out work around. 80 people on the field across 16 games, that won’t work. People will get sick. And the public won’t give the NFL a pass.

  5. The problem with a pool of players for teams to choose from is that those players will not be familiar with the plays that are called and will struggle to learn them.

    A possible solution might be something like this this: In addition to a 53 man roster and a 16 man practice squad have an emergency squad of 21 players for each team that would have been released from the 90 player pre-season roster. Those players will at least have some familiarity with the plays that the teams use and can practice in a different location

  6. Bob Costas says no football because Tennis and Golf is getting lots of withdrawals due to health concerns with spikes and those sports can be somewhat distanced. He thinks baseball might be able to pull off their 60 games but they’re are still things to be worked out.

  7. I peg the odds of Jeff Fisher coaching a spare team at about 50-50. Aka .500

  8. I’ve been a diehard fan for over 40 years. I’m at the point where I dont give a cr$#p anymore. Shut it down forever as far as I’m concerned. I’ll find something better to do with my time.

  9. I put the odds on Eli Manning answering Dave Gettleman’s call at about 99-1 when Jones goes down. The other 1% he’s in the gymn.

  10. Per the current sentiment of the nation, Let’s go with the full Socialism model. All teams have a 100 player roster. All players make the same salary = $2,000,000 for the year. You have an A squad and a B squad for each team that rotate each week. That way all players have a 2 week quarantine period between games.

    And we don’t keep score or win-loss records. All players get a participation trophy at the end of the season, and a free Pepsi.

  11. The NFL is to concerned about lost revenue during the post season/Super Bowl. If the season is cancelled or postponed at all, that revenue will be lost or pushed back anyway. Wait until mid October, with a plan in place. Start your season if feasible 1st week of November, 12 or 16 game season with playoffs and SB. You might be able to have fans in the stands by then. So even with a 12 game season the SB would be around 1st or 2nd week of March. Still probably wouldn’t be competing against any other sports.

  12. I am always right, right? says:
    June 25, 2020 at 8:46 pm
    I peg the odds of Jeff Fisher coaching a spare team at about 50-50. Aka .500
    Jeff and his wife are expecting a baby. Odds are that it will weigh 7 lbs. 9 oz. and be born on 7-9.

  13. I said this in another similar post, how do they contain the locker room spread with that many players? They might need portable locker room trailers.

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