Sunday marks the first time this season that traveling squads for NFL teams have been reduced from 69 to 62 players, and it is not sitting well with some teams, according to multiple executives who believe that more risk will be created by leaving home those players rather than having them with the team.
Executives from some teams are concerned about whether the seven players left behind on each team truly will quarantine all weekend and obey the league’s COVID-19 protocols while their teammates remain in a controlled NFL environment.
By reducing travel squads, the league’s goal was to reduce the risk and exposure to large groups, but teams believe that those players were around the team all week anyway, and by removing them from that equation, they now are introducing unnecessary outside risk.
The league continues to update its protocols and is doing what it can to preserve and prolong this season, and most moves have been successful.
Additional scrutiny for the reduction comes from the potential logistical headache created in the event of late-week positive tests.
Teams on the road typically fly out at midday on the day before the game. If multiple players test positive on Saturday after the team lands or on Sunday, teams don’t have the use of the whole roster to replace guys.
The idea to expand the rosters was to give teams increased flexibility, but that now has been taken away.