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NFL May Expand Rosters to Compensate for Time Lost During Lockout

This isn't a certainty at this point, but it would make sense. The New York Times is reporting that Goodell didn't rule it out when asked about it. So, take that for what it's worth (very little).

N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell did not rule out the possibility Wednesday of expanding rosters if training camps and preseason games are cut short or eliminated by the N.F.L.’s labor stalemate.

Expanding rosters would give coaches extra time to evaluate rookies, many of whom have not yet received playbooks, because they would not have to make as many cuts after a relatively brief period.

The 2011 NFL season is already damaged goods at this point. Teams with new coaching staffs are already at a severe disadvantage and all teams won't have adequate enough time to develop their draftees. It makes sense to expand the rosters just enough to keep more veterans with the club while rookies finally get a chance to assimilate to the NFL environment.

In St. Louis today, lawyers on both sides of the issue finally argued their cases to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. I won't bore you with the legalize. Now that the hearing is over, the court is expected to rule "in due course" on whether or not to allow the lockout to continue. It's expected that a decision won't come for another two to six weeks. Judge Kermit Bye warned that the decision will be one that neither party will like.

So, more time is expected to be lost. The players and owners could reach an agreement before then, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Not only are we the fans trapped in the middle, but so are the coaching staffs. These guys already occupy seats that are perpetually warm with the threat of an in-season firing always looming over them. Will they get a mulligan this season if they fail to win more than three or four games?

Injuries are another good reason to expand rosters this season. Players have been working out on their own so far, but how effective have they been at keeping themselves in game shape? I'm sure they all think they're in game shape, but will their bodies hold up once they put the pads on and start hitting each other? I fear we'll see even more injuries than normal this season with many coming in the first few weeks.

There's no details yet on how far rosters could be expanded and for how long. Could it be a temporary expansion that only lasts a few weeks or would they be expanded for the entire year? At what point during this lockout will they determine that this is needed? Will the preseason have to be lost before they decide to do it? As with everything NFL related these past few months, we still have only questions with no answers. That may be the most frustrating aspect of it all.

How and for how long would you like to see rosters expanded this year? At what positions do you think the Saints could use extra players beyond the 53 roster maximum usually incorporated during the regular season? After last season, I'd like to see a couple extra running backs on the roster for at least the first few weeks.