More CBA For Thought

Posted Jul 25, 2011

The elimination of the third quarterback rule could benefit a team like the Chiefs

The NFL will send out an updated league calendar whenever a new Collective Bargaining Agreement becomes official.  The final product isn’t likely to differ significantly from last Thursday’s outline if an agreement is indeed imminent.

Shrinking five months of transactions into several weeks will bring an off-season like no other. Waivers, free agency and rookie signings; they’ll all happen one after another. But there is more to the new CBA than the flurry of activity leading into training camp. There are plenty of other notable changes on the way as well.

Here are three changes that caught my eye specific to the Chiefs.

1)      The 46-Man Roster

Gone is the third quarterback rule – a rule the Chiefs utilized just three times in 2010. For 14 weeks the Chiefs kept two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. Only during the week that Matt Cassel was admitted for emergency appendectomy surgery did the Chiefs promote Tyler Palko (pictured) from the practice squad.

NFL teams have grown accustomed to declaring a third quarterback since 1991. Only 45 of 53 players were eligible to play each week, but the third quarterback rule allowed teams a 46th player should an emergency situation occur. The catch is that the third quarterback renders both the starter and primary backup ineligible to return should he enter the game within the first three quarters.

If teams opted not to use a third quarterback, as the Chiefs did for much of 2010, just 45 players would be eligible to play each week. The only way to add a 46th player was to declare (and play) the third quarterback.

Adding an additional player is a great thing for young teams like the Chiefs. Todd Haley is clearly open to carrying just two active quarterbacks, meaning that 46th spot can now go to a developmental player that aids on special teams rather than a third QB (should Haley continue to carry just two QBs).

 Youngsters like Justin Cole, Reshard Langford and Jackie Bates might have seen more action last year had this new rule been in place.

Of course, coaches would probably prefer that all 53 players to dress on gameday. The guys who practice all week only to be inactive on gameday probably prefer that option as well.

In the end, 46 is better than 45.

2)      Padded Practice Limitations

Todd Haley already has a plan for adjusting to the changes in practice attire. In the words of George Zimmer, “I guarantee it.”

We’ve seen Haley play both sides of the practice spectrum in his two years as Chiefs head coach. Training camp practices have featured plenty of padded practices in previous years, but we’ve also seen Haley hold entire weeks of regular season practices without full pads.

It will be interesting to see how Haley approaches the schedule that waits. It’s definitely going to take plenty of pre-planning.

Under the proposed CBA, teams may not practice in pads for the first three days of camp and two-a-day practices are limited. During the regular season, each team may only hold 14 full-padded practices (with restrictions).

3)      September 20th

GM Scott Pioli is going to be inundated with work when the lockout officially lifts. Where do discussions with  OLB Tamba Hali fall on his priority list?

Pioli was clear about the Chiefs intentions when he placed the club’s franchise tag on Hali in February.

"Tamba is a key contributor to our football team, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for him both personally and professionally," Pioli said. "We want Tamba to remain a member of the Chiefs, and we will continue to work together with the hope of reaching a long-term agreement."

It appears that teams will have until September 20th to sign their franchise player to a long-term deal. That date previously fell in mid-July. The franchised player plays the season under terms of his one-year franchise deal should he and the club be unable to reach a long-term agreement before the deadline.

Thinking back to 2009, the Chiefs inked already franchised QB Matt Cassel to a long-term deal before the deadline came and went. He played that season under a new deal.

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