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Active Gameday Rosters Set to Expand from 45 to 46

When I read the summary of the proposed deal, something stood out on page 24. It was the concept of there being a "short term injured reserve," as well as a 47 player Active/Inactive list.

Whether or not the short term injured reserve list gets implemented remains to be seen, but it is always one of those rules that has bugged me. Players get hurt for a couple of weeks all the time; take a look at someone like Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace last year. Or even Nick Sorensen when he was out for a couple of weeks. Often, this puts teams down a roster spot, or makes them put a player on the injured reserve (ending their season) despite the fact they could still contribute later in the season when they recover. Teams could also abuse such a list, but with the right provisions, I think it makes sense.

The other interesting part was the concept of there being 47 active players on the gameday roster. Adam Schefter seemed to confirm something similar on ESPN:

One other rule the two sides have agreed on for the coming season: NFL gameday rosters would expand from 45 to 46 players, with the No. 3 quarterback no longer counting as an inactive player, a league source told ESPN's Schefter.

His language seemed a bit unclear, because I wondered, "what if a team chooses to not have a third quarterback?" That's probably why Schefter mentions "46" players instead of "47" players. My interpretation is that teams will get to carry an extra active player this year. And, if they have a third quarterback on their roster, they will sort of be in a "+1" category, and all of those former rules (i.e. if the third quarterback comes in before the fourth quarter, the other two QBs are ineligible to return) would be thrown out of the window.

The extra player can really help a pure special teams player make the roster out of camp. There is no word yet on whether the total roster size would be expanded beyond 53 players or not.

UPDATE: It seems as though the rosters are only increasing by one to 46 players, and the 3rd QB rule has been dropped. Whether a team must declare a third quarterback or not remains to be seen. If they must, the Browns could get around that by designating Joshua Cribbs as the third quarterback. Under the new system, he could still play the whole game (albeit at a different position), and the Browns could still keep another special teamer.