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NFL institutes 3 new rule changes. Will they impact the Bucs?

It was a flurry of news on Wednesday coming from the league offices, some headlines more impactful than others.
Credit: AP
An empty parking lot outside Raymond James Stadium before an NFL football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

TAMPA, Fla. — The best franchises are the ones who know how to roll with the punches, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers found out three bits of information on Wednesday they’ll have to work with in order to stay atop the NFL.

First, and perhaps the least impactful, is the way the team will go from 90 to 53 players before the beginning of the 2021 regular season.

For the past few years, teams have been allowed to carry all 90 players if they chose to do so until the end of the preseason, required to trim to 53 shortly after their last contest.

This year, the NFL is returning to previous methods requiring teams like Tampa Bay to trim down their rosters in phases. This, according to a report from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Next, teams found out on Wednesday the league and NFLPA are expecting an inflation to the 2022 NFL Salary Cap of up to $208.2 million. This, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

According to popular salary cap management site spotrac.com, the Buccaneers already have $183.5 million committed towards next year’s number.

The good news there is the team has a projected $24.6 million to work with. The bad news is they have pending free-agent names like Chris Godwin, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, and Ryan Jensen. The worse news is, the $208.2 million valuation is the cap, which it may not even reach depending on revenue.

Finally, the league announced on Wednesday a new adjustment to the NFL’s rule against blocking below the waist. Previous to this latest adjustment, the act was a penalty only on change of possession plays and kick returns.

Now, it’s possible to be flagged for blocking below the waist on any scrimmage play, but only outside of the ‘tight end box.’ According to the official rule book, the tight end box is “...an area between the outside edges of the normal tackle positions extending from three yards beyond the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line. After the ball leaves the tackle box, this area no longer exists.”

Players caught blocking below the waist outside of the tight end box will cost their team 15 yards in 2021.

It was a flurry of news on Wednesday coming from the league offices, some headlines more impactful than others. All will force teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to address their approach to roster management, salary cap management, and on-field play.

For more on this story and for more on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, check out the Locked On Bucs Podcast.

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