Three players who spent the week on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice squad will have a chance to play in Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.
On Saturday, the Buccaneers signed cornerback Mazzi Wilkins from that unit to their active roster, filling an open spot created when tight end Antony Auclair was placed on injured reserve on Friday. In addition, the Bucs took advantage of a new rule in 2020 allowing them to elevate up to two players from the practice squad just for the next game. In Week Two, those players were wide receiver Cyril Grayson and tight end Tanner Hudson.
The Buccaneers also made a change to their injury report on Saturday, downgrading wide receiver Chris Godwin, who is in the concussion protocol, from doubtful to out.
With those two practice squad elevation options exercised and Wilkins' promotion, Tampa Bay has a roster of 55 players for Sunday's game, of which they can keep up to 48 active, as long as eight of those 48 are offensive linemen. That would require the team to name seven inactive players before the game. Alternately, the Bucs could make eight players inactive and use a 47-man active roster if they choose to keep fewer than eight offensive linemen up. Last week, the Buccaneers chose the first option and went with 48 active players against the Saints.
The players who are elevated from the practice squad on Saturday do not have to be among the 47 or 48 active players. Last week, the Buccaneers elevated Grayson and Wilkins but made Grayson inactive after wide receiver Mike Evans was cleared to play on game day in New Orleans. However, with Godwin unavailable Grayson could get his first chance to play in Week Two. Wilkins was among the team's 48 active players against the Saints but did not get into the game.
Though a number or rules regarding the roster, the practice squad and various reserve lists were renegotiated just before training camp to give teams more roster flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, this new option of weekly promotions was a part of the original new CBA that was ratified in March. The NFL and NFLPA did not decide to expand regular-season rosters from the previous limit of 53 players but they did come up with a way for teams to have a few more players available on game days.
Grayson and Wilkins were also two of the four players on which the Buccaneers used their weekly practice squad protection spots on leading up to Sunday's game. Those two plus linebacker Chapelle Russell and kicker Greg Joseph were protected from being signed by another team to its active roster, beginning on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET and extending through Sunday.
Grayson and Hudson will automatically revert to the Buccaneers' practice squad on Monday without having to pass through waivers. This option can only be used twice during the season on any specific player, so the Bucs will be out of elevation opportunities with Grayson after this week. He could still be signed to the active roster but that, and any subsequent move to return him to the practice squad would have to go through the normal means.