As the NFL prepares to take 32 teams of up to 90 players each to training camp in a pandemic, plenty of talk has surfaced about smaller rosters being used. The NFL Players Association, which in theory should want as many jobs as possible during camp, has expressed a desire to slash the rosters by 10 per team, from 90 to 80.
That’s a maximum of 2,560 players across the league, 320 fewer spots than the league’s teams would have in any other year.
Teams presumably would be permitted to have even fewer than 80, if they choose. Roster size has always been a maximum, not a minimum.
The union also wants no more than 20 players in a given facility at one time during the initial acclimatization period (training and conditioning) covering the first 21 days of camp. The number doubles to a maximum of 40 during the next phase of 10 days of non-contact practices.
So, basically, teams would have to operate in multiple shift for the first 31 days of camp, if the NFLPA’s recommendation is accepted. The final two weeks of preseason preparation, involving 10 practices (eight padded) would entail the entire roster.
Given this proposed formula, the union’s reasoning for opposing any preseason games becomes more obvious.
None of this becomes official until the two sides agree. But this is another example of the many issues on which agreement will be needed before camps can open, and the clock continues to tick. Loudly.