The NFLPA voted to approve the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on Sunday, bringing labor peace to the NFL through 2030.
The headline items from the new deal are the expanded playoff format (which begins in 2020) and the potential for a 17th regular-season game beginning in the 2021 season. But there will be significant impacts that extend beyond the schedule and revenue sharing.
Rosters will look different, and general managers will have more flexibility to work with.
Gameday rosters increase from 46 to 48 players
Naturally, with more games come more injuries. And the only way for teams to prepare for those injuries is by having more players available. One of the most difficult decisions that face coaches each week is who the final two or three players should be on game day. Now, with two more players available for active duty, the end result will be a more well-rounded Sunday squad.
One extra offensive lineman
So, here's the catch. One of those two extra gameday spots has to be an offensive lineman. Teams can now carry three backups on Sundays (or Monday night...or Thursday night) instead of the traditional two.
12-man practice squad in 2020; 14 in 2022
One of the biggest benefits for roster building is the expansion of the practice squad from 10 players to 12 in 2020. It grows to 14 players in 2022. And practice squads will be more appealing to players than any competitor leagues, too, with salaries for those players rising from $8,000 per week to $11,500. This is especially good news for teams like the Bears who have a well-established roster of starters and veteran backups but may want to have developmental options in the pipeline. The larger practice squad gives them the chance to do that (especially at quarterback).
Two practice squad promotions each week for an expanded 55-man roster
Speaking of those practice squads, NFL teams will be given the option to promote two practice squad players to their new 55-man active roster every week. Remember: the current structure allows for 53 players on the active roster which gets cut to 46 on game day. With the two practice squad promotions, the active roster grows to 55.
The best news? NFL teams can send those players back to the practice squad without having to clear waivers (and risk losing them to another team). Each player can be called up and sent back to the practice squad twice without the risk of waivers.