Practice squads were expected to expand from 10 players to 12 players under the new CBA in 2020, but they could expand even further due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a new report from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, there are currently conversations about expanding practice squad rosters to as many as 16 players. The hope is that this will provide teams with substantial roster flexibility as players will presumably test positive for the coronavirus.
This news comes just days after Cowboys, Texans and now a Broncos player has tested positive for the coronavirus. The NFL is fully expecting positive tests to happen during the upcoming season and an expanded practice squad roster is just one way they could handle it.
So how will practice squad expansion impact the Kansas City Chiefs? Well, they landed one of the top undrafted free agent classes in the NFL with a number of top-rated players at offensive and defensive positions. Guys like Vanderbilt WR Kalija Lipscomb, Mississippi State C Darryl Williams, and Michigan CB Lavert Hill for instance. This decision would obviously allow the Chiefs to hang onto more of those players.
Previously it felt that the coronavirus was going to strip undrafted players of potential NFL opportunities. They’re not going to have the same amount of practice time as they would normally get, and with potential for a shortened preseason, there’s less time to prove themselves to a coaching staff. An expanded practice squad can alleviate some of those issues.
In addition to the new blood on the 90-man roster, this could allow Kansas City to hang onto some more of their practice squad players from 2019. It could even impact how Brett Veach decides to construct the 53-man roster for the upcoming season. An additional four player slots open up a number of possibilities for the Chiefs.