Because of the NFL lockout a year ago, when everything came to an end, the NFL decided to increase the number of players allowed on the training camp roster, allowing 90 players for each team instead of just 80. The idea a year ago was that with a shortened timeline, teams needed to get camp bodies and an extra chance to see what they got. Heading in to the preseason, teams had until after the third preseason game to make their first cuts, before making the final moves down to the 53-man roster after the fourth and final preseason game.
On Monday it was announced that the roster limit would be raised again to 90 players, rather than the typical 80. Here are the tweets from the NFL's head of PR:
NFL roster limit has been increased from 80 to 90 players, effective 4 pm ET tomorrow.— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) April 23, 2012
90-player limit will include active, inactive, practice squad, exempt, reserve lists, unsigned draft choices, franchise FAs.— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) April 23, 2012
Cutdown from 90 to 75 will be after the third preseason weekend.— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) April 23, 2012
Apparently the league liked how it went a year ago.
The difference this year is that all these players will have a full offseason of workouts, OTA's and minicamp to be able to make an impression on teams' coaching staffs. Last year it was about bodies in camp.
What this does is give an additional 320 athletes the chance to play in the NFL, which mostly all of these guys have dreamed about. They get a offseason, training camp and three preseason games to try and make an impact.
Obviously for most it will mean just a few weeks of that dream, but it gives them a chance. And as we have seen almost every single year, there will be a few players that end up being a team contributor after being one of the guys that only got a chance because of the increased offseason roster size. \