NFL To Again Have Extended Practice Squads, COVID Replacements For 2021 Season

As expected would ultimately be the case, NFL teams will be permitted to have up to 16 players on their practice squads in 2021, according to a Sunday report by Pro Football Talk. The league expanded practice squads to 16 players in 2020 as part of the adjusted rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The elevation rules from 2020 will also return in 2021 as well, according to PFT. Like last season, two members from a practice squad can be elevated each week to the active roster for games. From that group of 55 total players, teams can then dress up to 48 in total for games, as long as that includes at least eight offensive linemen. Teams with fewer than eight offensive linemen can activate 47 players on gameday. After the game, the two players will safely revert back to the teams practice squad.

Per PFF:

“Like last year, players from the practice-squad can be promoted up to 90 minutes before kickoff to replace players who, for example, test positive on the morning of a game. The goal is to ensure that there will be enough players to play on any/every given Sunday (and Monday and Thursday and Saturday and any other day). With 69 total players on the broader team at any given time, that should be enough to ensure that enough will be able to suit up and play.”

The new CBA included a provision to increase practice squads from 10 to 12 players, with a maximum of two players having an unlimited number of accrued NFL seasons. But due to the coronavirus, practice squads were expanded in 2020 to 16 with a maximum of six players with unlimited NFL experience.

Basically, it sounds like all the roster rules that were put into place for the 2020 season will be used again in 2021. It has already been reported that the NFL will use the same Injured Reserve rules in 2021 that were put into place for the 2020 season.

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