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Report: 2020 COVID-19 related roster rule changes to return for 2021

NFL: Seattle Seahawks-Training Camp Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Last year saw an incredible amount of changes to the NFL rules on roster sizes, transactions, and the like, due to a new CBA being signed by the NFL owners and NFLPA. On top of that, months later there were even more new rules put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, “all signs point to” the NFL and NFLPA keeping most of the roster rule changes from 2020 due to the pandemic, in place for the 2021 season.

Some of the rule changes expected to stay in place that are mentioned by Pelissero in his thread of tweets are:

  • Players being allowed to return from the IR after 3 weeks (the previous rule was 8 weeks).
  • No cap on the number of players allowed to return from the IR during the season (the cap was previously 2 players).
  • 16 man practice squads (previously 12 man squads)

There has been no official word on COVID protocols for the 2021 season, or if any of these rules will stay in place for next year. Pelissero says that the official word from the NFL and NFLPA “may not come until closer to the start of training camp.”