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Report: NFL considering expanding practice squads rosters to as many as 16 players

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This will give teams more flexibility for positive COVID-19 tests.

San Francisco 49ers Practice Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that the NFL had internal talks about expanding practice squad rosters to as many as 16 or greater. The NFL had already planned to expand from 10 to 12 players in 2020, but with the inevitable number of positive COVID-19 tests, this would give teams more roster flexibility. The NFLPA would have to co-sign, but it’s hard to imagine they turn down more jobs for players.

This would be the third expansion for the practice squad in recent years. In 2014 the league expanded practice squads from 8 players to 10, and the move from 10 to 12 was set to happen with the 2020 season.

These talks are obviously in the pretty early stages, so it doesn’t sound as though anything is imminent, but if this does happen, it means that the San Francisco 49ers are likely going to be hanging on to the vast majority of their 2020 NFL Draft class, or at least a few more than they had initially accounted for. We’ll keep an eye on out, but this would be significant for the NFL. I do wonder if this will be limited to 2020, and we see the NFL resort back to a practice squad of 12 after this season.