The NFL has loosened the restrictions on players trying out for teams, and allow unemployed players to continue to test, in order to more rapidly facilitate the backfilling of rosters, the league announced on Saturday.
After a recently signed player was thought to be the cause of an outbreak with the Tennessee Titans earlier this season, the league tightened the rules around bringing in players from outside organizations.
But those tightened rules have put teams in situations in recent weeks when they have had to play significantly short at some position groups, most notably the Denver Broncos, who played without a quarterback in late November.
The new rules will allow a player to remain in a tryout for three days instead of one after clearing the testing protocol, and will also allow unemployed players to remain in the league’s testing protocol even after a tryout has ended in order to more quickly facilitate their onboarding if given a contract.
The league has also lifted the limit on the number of times a player can tryout with a certain team, meaning that teams can now essentially have players on semi-permanent tryout status in their city, ready to be added to the roster or practice squad whenever necessary. Those players are not eligible to be compensated unless they eventually sign a contract.
The change also applies to players signed from one team’s practice squad to another, provided that the players travel privately from one city to the other and do not miss a day of testing.
For the Steelers, that could lead to a faster activation for guard Danny Isidora, who was signed from the Kansas City practice squad on Tuesday.