The NFL made the decision to relax their practice squad rules prior to the 2020 season to align with the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, and since then, have continued to make changes to create more opportunities for players. The latest, and most generous update to those rules is likely to have made fans in Foxboro, MA.
Among the full rule changes put forth Wednesday, each NFL team will be allowed to carry 16 players –including six veterans– on its practice squad, a two man increase from 2021. Each practice squad player will now be eligible to be elevated on game day three times, an increase from two games in 2021. As was the case last season, the elevation limits will not apply to the postseason
New England was among the league leaders in practice squad elevations in 2021, notably elevating four players from the practice squad for their wild-card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills. They elevated a total of 15 players last season, including eventual starters Myles Bryant and Nick Folk.
The league also made changes to its injured reserve rules, allowing teams to bring players off of the reserve/injured or reserve/non-football injury/illness list eight times over the course of a season so long as that player spent four or more weeks on the list. Each individual player can return from IR a maximum of two times per season, but each time counts against the team’s eight allotted designations.
The new rules are intended to help players return from injury easier, and earn a bigger paycheck if they’re elevated from the practice squad. Good news all around.