Report: Reducing roster size has been suggested

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With the clock ticking toward the scheduled starts of training camps on July 28, the NFL and NFLPA are discussing how to do it safely.

And one idea that has apparently been suggested is taking fewer people to camp.

According to Mike Jones of USA Today, there have been suggestions within “NFLPA circles” about reducing rosters from 90 players to 75 or 80. Offseason rosters grew from 80 to 90 in 2012.

There’s no evidence that shrinking the number now is a realistic possibility, but it’s an intriguing theory from the standpoint of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teams will be pushing 150 people or more in a camp setting, once you figure in coaches, athletic trainers and medical personnel, equipment staffs, and the other support services that make these small army march.

So at a basic level, reducing the number of people in camp reduces the number of people who can possibly spread the disease (especially since many if not most of them are coming from hard-hit areas).

And if cutting the preseason from four games to two is a possibility, then the need for so many bodies in camp is lessened. While it cuts into the odds of undrafted rookies to make rosters, teams usually go to camp with many of the roster decisions made in advance.

The flip side to taking fewer players to camp is how to keep practices functioning if there’s an outbreak, which could potentially take large portions of position groups out of play for days at a time.

Of course, the union is also not generally inclined to support ideas which eliminate jobs, but this is a special circumstance, which will require novel solutions.

12 responses to “Report: Reducing roster size has been suggested

  1. Ridiculous, late last season the Eagles and Seahawks were both depleted rosters and signing street free agents to play in a playoff game.

    If anything rosters should be expanded, especially the number of players allowed to suit up on game day.

  2. I wouldnt be surprised to see the players agree to a temporary reduction in roster spots this offseason in exchange for added game day roster spots in future seasons

  3. Brilliant, lessen the roster for a virus that won’t be but a brief sickness for any athlete in exchange for the lifelong dangers of back pain and busted knees. Actual risk vs media risk.

  4. There nneds to be more players so they can develop. This would only make if they get rid of some teams.

  5. I saw Clemson had 37 positive tests with its football team and got to wondering, however unlikely, if that was intentional to create player immunity before the season starts, thus creating an advantage for that team to have a more complete roster all season. If young folks don’t have significantly adverse reactions, you gotta wonder if other teams have thought the same thing.

  6. AFofM, the musicians union, requires a minimum number of players in the pit bands of Broadway houses, no matter what the score is written for. I’ve had friends who were “walkers,” paid for not performing — showing up one or two days a week for rehearsals so they can keep their chops up — and be ready to step in in case they’re needed — receiving full pay.

    The NFLPA could propose the same deal — 90 man rosters, only 75 or so in camp — the others paid to be on stand-by as needed.

  7. purpleguy says:
    June 30, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    I saw Clemson had 37 positive tests with its football team and got to wondering, however unlikely, if that was intentional to create player immunity before the season starts, thus creating an advantage for that team to have a more complete roster all season. If young folks don’t have significantly adverse reactions, you gotta wonder if other teams have thought the same thing.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    If any university is encouraging student athletes to put their health at risk for college football, a multi-billion dollar industry for which the players receive zero, frankly, that is despicable.

  8. So if I am following this correctly. The NFL should reduce the roster by 10-15 for COVID safety. While this cut is happening on the current roster, a team is also supposed to make roster space for Colin Kapernick. This will add fuel to Richard Sherman for a obvious rant that someone was cut indiscriminately and with the smaller roster Kap will be underpaid.

    On a side note: Even if the Redskins were to complete all of these maneuvers and try to make everyone happy, they would still be wrong for not changing the team name.

  9. Smaller rosters aren’t a bad idea because everyone knows who the last 15 guys on the roster are. How often does one of these guys make the team? Maybe you could allow teams to replace any player who gets hurt or sick so there’s always enough guys to practice.

  10. I figured they would be expanding regular season roster for missing players for two-weeks at a time.

  11. UDFA’s will really have a tough time making rosters – I would look at expanding rosters and extending the time that a team has control over a player well into the season – this would give teams more time to judge a player with in season practices, etc – if the virus starts taking out players it will cause long absences of 2 to 3 weeks and teams will need more bodies to fill in

  12. Actually they should be expanding rosters since people will test positive and have to be quarantined for 2 weeks. Moving from a 53 man roster to at least a 65 or 70 man roster is the only logical idea for the season.

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