We have heard tricklings here and there over the course of the past several months about the potential details of what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal might contain. Unsurprisingly, the numerous reports inevitably failed to fully account for the variety and nuance that ended up being on the table.
Some practical personnel matters, tied both to in-game and out-of-game scenarios, find themselves embedded within the proposal, and I will try to highlight them below. The most notable, for me, is the introduction of a new ‘emergency’ gameday active.
It used to be that teams would only be allowed to have 45 players formally active from their 53-man roster, but all teams were permitted to dress one additional player as an emergency quarterback. If he were to be forced to enter the game due to injury, he would have to remain in the game unless he, too, would get injured, so your starter could not return.
The rule has since been modified allowing teams to dress 46 players, but the emergency quarterback was done away with, so if you wanted to dress three quarterbacks, they would all have to be active. Now teams will still be able to dress 46 active players, but they will also have a new emergency position: an offensive lineman.
Generally, teams dress seven linemen on Sunday: five starters, one reserve tackle, and one reserve interior lineman. Under this proposal, teams who like to dress seven lineman could choose to dress only six, or would simply be able to have the benefit of having eight linemen to their disposal. This would help prevent emergency situations in which, for example, a tight end would have to play lineman if more than two injuries occur.
Additionally, while the full details are not clear, according to Jenny Vrentas, the verbiage in the new CBA allows for two additional spots both on the 53-man roster and on the practice squad. Including practice squad exemptions, it sounds as though teams may now have up to 55 active-roster players and 14 practice-squad players.
According to the proposal, up to $1.25 million in salary would be excluded from the salary cap for the purposes of these two new spots on the 53-man roster, which would be roughly equivalent to two minimum-salaried players, which every single team would have on the bottom of their roster.
In addition to adding two more spots on the practice squad, teams will also now be allowed to have two players on the practice squad who have no eligibility restrictions in terms of accrued seasons. Under the current rules, teams may have up to four players who have no more than two accrued seasons who have already been active for at least six games in a single season. Essentially, this now means that every player in the NFL would be practice squad-eligible (unless they have spent three years on the practice squad already, I assume, which was Matt Feiler’s case).