The NFL was forced to be creative when it came to completing a full season in a successful manner during the COVID-19 pandemic. To do this, the league changed some of its rules when it came to practice squads and injured reserve. While we are now mostly past the pandemic, some of the rules have stuck. This week, the NFL made an official announcement on guidelines for the upcoming season.
For injured reserve, teams are permitted to return eight players from the IR list or reserve/non-football injury/illness list in 2022, per NFL Media. Last year, it was unlimited. Additionally, a player may be designated to return a maximum of two times in one season, with each return counting against the franchise’s grand total of eight. A player designated to return is eligible to return to practice or the active/inactive list after four games have elapsed since he was placed on the reserve list.
As for the practice squad, the league is going to keep the number at 16 after being 10 just a few years ago, per NFL Media. The players who can be added to this group are players who do not have an accrued season of NFL experience, free agents who were on the active list for fewer than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season or seasons, and a maximum of 10 free agents who have earned no more than two accrued seasons. Teams can also have a maximum of six veterans with an unlimited amount of accrued seasons on their practice squads, as long the players in the latter two categories don’t exceed 10.
A practice squad player can be elevated for a maximum of three regular-season games in the same year and any number of postseason games without taking up a spot on the 53-man active roster. Last year it was just two.