In a move that improves chances for roster longshots but also intensifies a frantic, end-of-preseason period for head coaches and general managers, NFL owners on Tuesday voted to eliminate the first cut-down period forcing teams to trim their roster to 75 before the final preseason game.
Now, there will be one cut down following the preseason, from a 90-man roster to a 53-man.
The news, reported by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, essentially gives 480 players (15 per team) the chance to remain on the roster for one final audition. Already desperate for more film, the league's bottom-of-the-roster players should consider the decision a major victory.
Alongside a second injured reserve return player and adjustments to overtime, this addendum highlights a very busy May for NFL decision makers.
For those who have long adored the reality TV show Hard Knocks, both cut down days have become a staple of the league calendar -- a time of extreme highs and lows for players looking to hang on and coaches searching for hidden gems on other rosters.
Trimming 37 players at once will make for some enjoyable, organized chaos.
Before both roster cut-down days, many general managers have already compiled a list of players on other teams likely to be released and potential scenarios where they could add key pieces. Under the new rules, they will have to be quick-footed, as the market will be flooded with an influx of potential talent all at once.
On the bright side for coaches, they will not have to strip their rosters before the fourth preseason game -- often a week where teams simply hope to avoid any major injuries. As time wears on in that final game, they could give themselves one more live look at a player battling for a final spot on the season roster.
As Rapoport noted, this change has long been championed by the Washington Redskins; a sensible, win-win situation at a time when practice opportunities are already so precious.