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NFL, NFLPA agree on 2020 season pact, expanding practice squads to 16 players

A necessary move that should benefit the younger players.

CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

The 2020 NFL season is on, with the NFLPA having agreed to the league’s proposal a little while ago. Whether the two sides have hammered out something that’s going to allow for a full 2020 season or not is an open question, as is the number of players who still feel it’s on shaky enough ground to sit out, including Atlanta’s own Todd Gurley.

While some level of skepticism is warranted, it’s impossible not to be excited about the season ahead as Falcons fans (we want this team to be better, and maybe they will be!) and as NFL fans (the season really did seem to be in doubt multiple times over the last several months). We’ll take it one week at a time and hope for the best.

As part of that deal, which we’ll dive into a little bit more deeply in the days ahead, the league made some major changes to the practice squad that will allow the Falcons and 31 other NFL teams to carry more players in reserve, and allow for more players to avoid hitting free agency this season.

A month ago it was reported that the NFL was considering expanding practice squads for NFL teams to 16 players. Today, it was officially implemented that practice squads this season will have 16 players, with 6 of those players having an unlimited number of accrued seasons.

Additionally, four members of the 16 practice squad players will be designated as protected each week, meaning other NFL teams will be unable to sign them. This move mainly comes due to the current pandemic and allows for roster flexibility for potentially positive COVID-19 tests.

The practice squads were previously expanded from 10 to 12 players for 2020, and the move allows even more UDFA’s who didn’t have a fair offseason program, possibly compete for a roster spot in the future. The Falcons currently have 20 UDFAs signed following the draft and 6 rookies selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. Training camp is slated to begin on July 28, which will have many of these young players vying for those newly-expanded 16 practice squad spots.