One preseason game is in the books already for our Superbowl bound Bears, and the staff has to reevaluate the players. Currently, there are 90 players on the squad, and what wouldn't a fan give to know what's going on in the staff's heads. Who will be a starter, who will be cut and who will they pray makes it through waivers on to the practice squad.
Well, here's a little surprise for you. Not only are the fans interested in this information, so are 31 staffs around the league. The way the system is set up now, each team will practice and play 3 preseason games before having to cut 15 players. Five days later, another 22 players will get the axe. Only 18 hours later, after the players clear waivers, can they be reclaimed to the practice squad.
Here is the exact schedule thanks to our friends at TurfShowTimes:
|August 8-11||First Preseason Weekend.|
|August 15-19||Second Preseason Weekend.|
|August 22-25||Third Preseason Weekend.|
|August 27||Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 75 players|
|August 28||All tryouts on this date and for the remainder of the season must be reported to the League|
|August 29||Final Preseason Games.|
August 31 -- Prior to 6:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non- Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.
|September 1||Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00|
Beginning at 12:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an Accrued Season of free agency credit or who were on the 46-player Active List for less than nine regular season games during each of any Accrued Seasons. A player cannot serve on the Practice Squad for more than three seasons.
What are the advantages in this setup? The obvious and main advantage is that each franchise can keep the maximum amount of players for the duration of the preseason that are familiar with the system. The disadvantage and downside is that a team will be less willing to take a risk on a player who they haven't tried out and seen in practice situation.
I believe that more information leads to sounder decisions, and that holds true in real life as well as in the NFL. Can we really expect GMs and head coaches to make sound and reliable decisions within 18 hours, not knowing who will be available and who not? Doesn't the NFL owe it to their fanbase to do everything and anything to ensure that every team has the best possible players on the roster?
I propose adding a new twist to the current system, whereby we can keep the cake whole and eat it as well.
A new category will be formed called "camp bodies". By 12:00PM after the first preseason game, each team will have to dedicate 9 players as camp bodies. The players will continue being under contract to their team, and will continue practicing with them. They will not go through waivers. Every other team can they place offers for these players, either a trade of players, or even offering a draft pick - conditional or not. The team holding the contract will not be obligated to accept any offer. After the 2nd and 3rd preseason games, an additional 9 players will be designated as camp bodies for a total of 27. After the 4th preseason game, each team has to decide who will remain on the 53 man roster, who will be on the practice squad and which players will be waived in addition to the 27 camp bodies.
This proposal removes a lot of guesswork and opens up worlds of opportunity. A good example would be our Bears. Believe it or not, we have a glut of potential at the WR spot, and suddenly are pretty short at the DT position. By designating Tolliver and Lentz among others as camp bodies, we signal to other teams that they are potentially available, and we can trade them to a team who has a glut at the DT position. The way the situation is now, we have to cut them, and can't touch any other of the 2790 players in the league, even though 1147 will be available in three weeks time.
Another example is Marquiss Wilson and Micheal Ford. Why should the Bears get punished for developing them, only to see them being lost to waivers? So the Bears keep them both and pay the price somewhere else. With this proposal, they can be kept on the practice squad without any risk.
I did mine, what do you guys think?