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NFL owners approve some key roster rule changes involving roster cutdowns and IR

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL owners are meeting today and discussing various rule changes, and they’re agreed to pass a significant one when it comes to roster construction.

The roster cutdown from 90 players to 75 players during the preseason has been eliminated, meaning that there will now just be one cutdown, from 90 players to 53 players following the fourth preseason game.

In years past, teams have been required to cut down their rosters to 75 players before the preseason finale, and then they would have to do another roster cutdown to 53 players following that game. But the fourth preseason game is the one where starters don’t play, so you’d think that would be the game where it would be most helpful to have a full 90-man roster instead of a 75 man roster. Furthermore, it would give more players one last opportunity to make an impression - 480 players across the NFL, to be exact.

I like this change a lot, and I think it makes a ton of sense. Logistically, all it means is that 53-man roster predictions will be a bit harder but that teams will be able to play more backups in the preseason finale, getting one last look at a few more guys. I don’t really see the harm in this rule change, though some teams will likely begin cuts a bit earlier anyway and therefore might not always take 90 players into that final preseason game.

One other very significant rule change that will affect roster matters is one that we mentioned last week but that was indeed approved: two players can now come off of injured reserve.

Previously, teams could have one player who was placed on IR return after at least eight weeks, meaning that IR was no longer permanent for the remainder of the season. But only one player could be designated to return, and now teams will get two such players. This will further help roster construction and will help teams make decisions about players who might miss extended time but not the whole season. This rule change also makes a lot of sense and is a good move.

So with these two rule changes, the NFL has impacted roster matters in a few key ways. No longer will they have the first roster cutdown, and now there will be two players allowed to return from IR - both of which make sense.