ITP Glossary: 90-Man Roster

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From punt gunner to climbing the pocket, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.

90-Man Roster

The 90 man roster limit, as opposed to the in-season 53 man roster limit, is in effect from the end of the regular season (or elimination from the playoffs) until the first cut of  training camp. This rule was designed to give teams an opportunity to bring in more players to their team building and educational activities during the spring and summer, giving those players an opportunity to make the active or practice squad roster.

Non-playoff teams can begin to sign reserve / future contracts with players on the Monday after the conclusion of Week 17. These contracts do not go into effect until the start of the new league year (usually in the first two weeks of March), which is also the beginning of free agency. At that point, teams can begin to sign unrestricted free agents or create offer sheets to restricted free agents as they build their 90 man rosters.

Payers are eligible to participate fully in the team’s offseason program but do not add significantly to the team’s expenses as they only receive per diem money until the beginning of the regular season when their standard player contract kicks in. It is not uncommon for some of these players to be released before training camp. Sometimes they are replaced by a better player for the expected role and sometimes it is because of an injury, or ineffectiveness. Teams will have a core group of players that they expect to be in contention for a spot on the initial 53 man roster, but those outside of that group are constantly “on the bubble” and may be replaced if a better option appears through free agency, the draft, trade, or the waiver wire.

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Dan Hatman wrote this entry. Follow Dan on Twitter @Dan_Hatman.

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