The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have chosen three players on their practice squad that they will protect from being signed by another team in Week Three:
· WR Cyril Grayson
· K Greg Joseph
· LB Chapelle Russell
Grayson and Joseph have been on the Bucs' protected list each week so far. Russell is on the list for the second week in a row. Each team is allowed up to four protections per week, and the Bucs could still use their fourth spot to protect another player later in the week.
There are no limits to how many times a specific player can be protected during the season. Practice squad protections are not connected to another new rule allowing teams to elevate two players from the practice squad to add to the active roster on game day. Any of the 16 players on the practice squad can be elevated, whether they are protected or not, though a specific player can only be elevated twice during the season.
Grayson has already been elevated in each of the Bucs' first two games so the team is out of that particular option with him. If Tampa Bay wanted to make Grayson available to play in games again, they would have to go through the normal means of signing him, and then he would have to pass through waivers if he were to subsequently return to the practice squad.
The option to protect players from being signed away by other teams is one of a number of new rules involving the practice squad in 2020. The new collective bargaining agreement that was ratified in March included a new rule that allows teams to elevate two players from their practice squad and increase their game day rosters to 55 spots, with a maximum of 48 active. Later, when portions of the CBA were amended to help players and teams operate in a season affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, those practice squads were increased to 16 players and the new protection rule was added.
Each week, a team can submit a list of up to four players on its practice squad that other teams are prohibited from signing to their active rosters. In a normal week with a Sunday game, that protection starts at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday and extends through game day; if the protection spot is utilized later in the week it begins on that day. No players are protected on Monday or on Tuesday before the deadline, so every practice squad player will still have opportunities to sign elsewhere, even with the protected spots.