There is a lot to think about NFL teams as it concerns the 2020 season, and some things apply specifically to football and the nature of their sport and the expansiveness of their rosters. Other major leagues such as baseball and basketball, for example, operate with much smaller rosters, which obviously makes it easier to retain social distancing.
NFL offseason rosters, however, consist of up to 90 players. That is a lot of people to fit in a locker room. And reportedly, there are teams who are considering carrying fewer than that many players into training camp, with this very idea in mind.
As Pro Football Talk wrote about last week, a league sources has said that some teams are considering operating with a smaller roster of 75 or 80 players, rather than 90. When you consider the fact that the offseason roster used to be 80 players not too long ago, it’s not really all that absurd, and the last 10 or so players usually see a lot of turnover, anyway.
Just look at the Steelers’ current 90-man roster. While I don’t want to diminish anybody’s place on the team or use a term like ‘camp body’, you’re not going to tell me that there aren’t at least 10 players that you feel confident the team can do without being in camp.
They have five quarterbacks right now, for starters. They’re not going to have reps for all of them. They also have 11 defensive linemen, with an abundance of players listed at defensive end, including players like Henry Mondeaux, Dewayne Hendrix, Josiah Coatney, Calvin Talyor, and likely Cavon Walker as well. That is on top of their more notable players at the position with NFL experience.
NFL teams got along with 80-player offseason rosters for a long time without much issue, though of course there is a reason that they did expand it to 90. Limiting the number of players will cause hundreds to lose their jobs, and nobody is rooting for that, but those are temporary jobs in the first place, for a few weeks in the Summer.
Of course, this is just a league source relaying the word that there are teams who are considering fielding an offseason roster fewer than 90 players. There has been nothing coming from the league that is in the vein of limiting roster spots, so if anybody does this, it’s entirely voluntary.