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Report: NFL may trim training camp rosters to as few as 75 players

Saints Wire logo Saints Wire 7/3/2020 John Sigler
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The novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted the New Orleans Saints in several big ways during the 2020 offseason, including an infection for head coach Sean Payton. But its wide-ranging influence has hit the NFL’s summer schedule, canceling organized team activities, voluntary workouts, and even preseason games.

And a recent report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggests that more adjustments could be on the way. Schefter reports that NFL teams could reduce their rosters to as few as 75 to 80 players from the customary 90-man depth chart for training camp, lessening the number of potential infections during weeks of practices.

That would be a big blow for players on the fringe of the Saints’ roster; recent veteran additions like Margus Hunt, Ty Montgomery, and James Hurst could be left out of consideration as well as undrafted rookie pickups such as Blake Gillikin, Tony Jones Jr., and Adrian Magee. They are all newcomers who need the opportunity to make a strong impression in training camp, but reduced rosters mean they might never even get a spot in the locker room. Second-year pros who might be hoping for a bounce back (Emmanuel Butler, Ethan Greenidge, and Chase Hansen come to mind) could also be left in the cold.

Another consideration being discussed at the NFL offices is increased practice squad size during the season, widening the pool of reserves up to 16 to 20 players. That would be a big boost for teams managing infections with quarantined players, which is likely inevitable given the full-contact nature of the sport.

With training camp just weeks away — the Saints are scheduled to report to their Metairie practice facility on July 28 — we shouldn’t have to wait long for official word to come down from the league. As local and federal governments work to contain infections, it feels like it’s more a matter of “when,” not “if,” further changes will be implemented.

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