NFL revives bylaw allowing third QB to dress out on game days without using a roster spot

This is interesting: NFL owners voted to approve a bylaw allowing teams to dress a third quarterback on game days without using a roster spot, which could change how the New Orleans Saints and many other teams make roster decisions in 2023. It’s a rule the league has used before but shied away from after more tightly regulating roster construction.

What will this look like? The Saints have three quarterbacks under contract right now in their new starter Derek Carr, his backup Jameis Winston, and rookie fourth-round draft pick Jake Haener. Taysom Hill, listed as a tight end, doesn’t factor into things anyway. So the likeliest outcome is that Carr and Winston will be active each week while Haener is designated as their emergency quarterback on the inactive list.

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But there are stipulations. For one thing, the third emergency quarterback must be listed on the 53-man roster, not the 16-man practice squad, in order to qualify, though he still won’t be included on the active roster on game days (instead, he’ll be on the inactive list among 8 players from the 53-man roster and 14 players from the practice squad).

For another, they may only play in the event of an emergency such as injuries or disqualifications to the other two passers. They wouldn’t get into the game if coaches benched another quarterback, for example. And if either of the primary quarterbacks are cleared to return by the team medical staff, the emergency passer must return to the sideline.

Let’s illustrate things more simply: it’s Week 1, and the Saints have activated Carr, Winston, and 43 other players from their 53-man roster while calling up two other players from their practice squad. Haener is included on the inactive list with 7 other players, but he’ll be in uniform and ready to go into the game if needed. This is going to add a new element to how coaches determine their game-day roster decisions, but fans will only really notice in case an emergency strikes. Let’s hope Haener’s services aren’t needed any time soon.

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Story originally appeared on Saints Wire