Sean Payton wants to increase game-day rosters

The New Orleans Saints finished Week 15's contest against the Carolina Panthers with just five healthy offensive linemen after center Max Unger (concussion) and tackle Jermon Bushrod (hamstring) left the game.

And the Saints obviously would've been in an unfavorable situation if another offensive lineman went down. So how do you fix the issue?

After fielding a question on the benefit of having Andrus Peat's versatility to slide from left guard to tackle, Saints head coach Sean Payton offered an unsolicited opinion on what he believes needs to happen in order to provide more personnel options on game day.

"The 46-man roster on game day is soon to be, I think, will be soon dated," Payton said Thursday in a teleconference. "I think that's got to change. If we're interested in health and safety, and it sounds like we are -- at least that's something that we talk about a lot -- that number should be higher and that will affect the overall roster size. That might cost a little bit more money, but that's the price."

Teams carry an active 53-player roster during the regular season but can only have 46 players dressed on game day. The decision on who is active and inactive ultimately affects depth on any given week, and the Saints entered Week 15 with seven active offensive linemen before seeing two blockers leave with injuries.

Payton, who joined the NFL competition committee in September 2017, said any potential decision to boost the game-day roster won't have anything to do with the committee. Instead, Payton points out the discussion would need to occur among the owners, the NFL Players Association and league's management council.

More important, Payton said there is support around the league for increasing the 46-player limit.

"Oh, absolutely, absolutely," Payton said emphatically. "That's an ownership-only decision."

As the discussion is sure to grow, Payton isn't alone as a head coach expressing a public desire to expand the roster on game day. Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn also advocated for increasing rosters during the Annual League Meeting last March.

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