Veteran outside linebacker Genard Avery joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers late in training camp, and while he didn't land a spot on the 53-man roster he still may be suiting up on Sunday night in Dallas.
On Saturday afternoon the Buccaneers utilized the rule, first introduced in 2020, that allows teams to elevate up to two players from the practice squad for each game, giving them a 54-man roster for their Week One opener against the Cowboys. They will be able to keep 48 of those active for the game, naming six inactives earlier in the evening.
Each player on the practice squad can be elevated up to three times during the regular season and an unlimited amount of times in the postseason. After the game, elevated players automatically revert to the practice squad without having to pass through waivers.
If the Buccaneers keep Avery among their 48 active players on Sunday night it will give them a fifth option at outside linebacker along with starters Shaquil Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and reserves Anthony Nelson and Carl Nassib. Avery would also likely see significant action on special teams.
The practice squad elevation option was first introduced in 2020 as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. It came prior to a number of other rule changes that the NFL and NFLPA agreed upon in the summer of 2020 to provide teams with more roster flexibility during the pandemic. The new rule was something of a compromise, as it did not expand the active rosters beyond 53 players but did give teams a few more options on game days.