With the holiday weekend on tap and people across the country set to celebrate, reports have emerged that when training camps open later this month team rosters will be smaller than they have been in seasons past. As noted here at Field Gulls earlier in the week, the league has been discussing reducing roster sizes in order to reduce the number of people involved in training camp and reducing the risk of a COVID outbreak that could derail a team or even the season. The likelihood of this being the case has now been confirmed.
In an effort to combat COVID-19, NFL teams are likely to bring fewer than the regular 90 players they ordinarily bring to training camp, per league sources. One source is predicting 80 per team, another 75, but no one is expecting 90. More coming up on https://t.co/rDZaVFhcDQ.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 2, 2020
As Schefter notes, sources seem to believe that rosters will be either 75 or 80 players. Either of those would be a logical choice, as 80 was the size of training camp rosters prior to expansion to 90 in 2012. Meanwhile, prior to the elimination of the first round of training camp roster cuts from 90 to 75 players prior to the finale preseason game in 2017.
Of note, however, is that while the league is looking at reducing the size of training camp rosters, as of now the discussions still appear to indicate am expansion of the practice squad during the regular season. That will allow for teams to be better able to handle the adversity of playing during a pandemic.
This would obviously be a big blow for young players, specifically for undrafted free agent who might not even make it to camp to get a shot at earning a spot on the roster. The Seahawks have obviously had multiple undrafted free agents make an impact on the field after impressing during the preseason over the years, including Doug Baldwin, George Fant, Garry Gilliam, Thomas Rawls and others.
In any case, it's a situation and a decision that certainly bears watching in the coming weeks as training camp gets closer.