Traditionally, NFL teams bring 90 players to training camp and carry about that many players through the preseason until teams have to cut down to 53 after the conclusion of the exhibition season. However, that might not be the case this year.
Here’s what ESPN’s Adam Schefter has heard:
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
Schefter hears from league sources that teams are expected to bring fewer than the expected 90 players when training camps open at the end of July. How many players come to camp is still to be determined, with one source foresees 80, while another speculates 75. In any case, the 90-man preseason roster doesn’t seem like something that’s going to happen this summer.
Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is likely one of the reasons as to why trimming camp rosters are likely being trimmed. But in addition to that, there are football-related implications to consider here. Cutting down to 75 or 80 players could add at more than 300 players to the free agent pool. It’s easy to imagine teams knocking off undrafted free agent additions of rosters, but it also could provide an opportunity for teams to clear cap space by cutting players on the fringe.
For the Bears, who have a fully staffed 90-man roster right now, crunching the roster to 75 or 80 players would be serious business. I’m certain fans could come up with any number of players they would like to see cut. But in a year in which the head coach and general manager have talked openly about creating competition for available jobs on the squad, I can’t imagine it would be easy for the decision-makers to make all the necessary cuts.
We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops — especially if and when roster cuts come down.