In case you hadn’t heard, there are some new rules in place for NFL practice squads this year, part of the league’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, practice squads have been expanded from 10 players to 16. Second, there’s no limit on how much experience players have, which permitted the Detroit Lions to retain veteran offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins. Additionally, up to two players can be promoted to the active roster on game day and be sent back to the practice squad the next day without being exposed to waivers.
Finally, teams can designate four practice squad players as protected each week, preventing them from signing with other teams.
On Tuesday, the Lions announced they are protecting quarterback David Blough, cornerback Dee Virgin, tight end Isaac Nauta and running back Jonathan Williams ahead of Sunday’s season-opener against the Chicago Bears.
The protections for those players expire Sunday night and the Lions won’t be able to designate four for the next game week until Tuesday afternoon. In between that time, those players are free to sign with any of the league’s other 31 teams.