Ongoing 2020 roster discussions between NFL, NFLPA

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The NFL’s challenge when it comes to the pandemic includes two main components. First, the league must keep the spread of the virus to a minimum. Second, the league must be prepared to fill in the places on the list if / when the players test positive and are quarantined.

Regarding the latter, NFL attorney general Jeff Pash said in a conference call Thursday with reporters that the league and the NFL Players Association continue to have discussions about roster issues arising from the positive tests.

It may not be enough, as explained above, simply expanding practice squads from 12 to 16. In the event of a true outbreak knocking out 10 or more players, teams should be able to temporarily clear the places on the roster. . and to fill those places with game-ready players.

Leaving aside the question of whether a coach can make a player lie about the positive tests so that he can hide him for a few weeks on the COVID-19 list, teams may need many players, quickly. And the usual Gong Show process of attracting a group of test players may not be enough, if, for example, a certain position group is decimated and a team is looking to hire an offensive lineman off the street to protect a quarterback making $ 30 million or more. by year.

The XFL had a ninth team of players, who kept fit in the game in case one of the eight franchises needed replacements. The NFL may have to set up multiple teams (maybe four), hiring coaches like Hue Jackson and Jeff Fisher to keep everyone ready.

Baseball is thinking about something like that. As Jayson Stark of recently reported, MLB may have two teams of unsigned players, which would serve as an emergency group in the event of outbreaks.

If the NFL doesn’t have a similar process, things could get very difficult for teams that are on a sizable chunk of the roster just a day or two before a game.