Tuesday, NFL league owners approved a new rule eliminating the first roster cut which brought the teams down to 75 players, from 90. Teams will now have 90 roster spots until after the final preseason game when the will cut down to 53.
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is a fan of the new rule.
“I think it is a good move for our league,” said Del Rio. “That fourth game can be real difficult. I think for those young men that fought their way through. I think a lot of those guys, you know at the end you’re making decisions on who you’re going to keep for your practice squad. Who you’re going to keep at the end of your roster for your 53. I think it’s a healthy transition. I’m not sure that extra week, when we’re playing on a short week, everybody’s going to play on that Thursday and it comes so quick. You’re trying to move guys out earlier that week, it’s a little bit disruptive. So, I’m glad to see the league make that move”.
Giving guys who were not drafted or drafted as high another opportunity to put some work on tape will be to their benefit as well. While it is every prospect’s hope to make the final cut, sometimes you are simply auditioning for the next team.
With 1184 free agents all hitting the market at the same time as practice squads are being constructed, GM’s will have plenty of opportunities to finalize their rosters. Having a GM with Reggie’s eye for late round or undrafted talent will be a benefit to the team. We have all seen the impact an UDFA can have on a game.
Another new rule allows teams to have a second player return from IR during the season. The previous rule had just one player eligible to return from IR during the season. After 6 weeks a player on IR may return to practice which starts the 14-day window for the player to return to the active roster. Though with any luck the team will not be needing these spots.