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NFL Enacts New Rule for 'Emergency QB' in 2023


FRISCO, Texas - There's a new rule set to take effect in 2023 that will positively impact how the Dallas Cowboys manage their roster during the regular and postseason, or rather it's an oldie but a goodie, considering it was once enacted in the early 2010s before ultimately being shelved by the league.

They're hoping it sticks this time, or at least the owners are, considering all 32 have now voted to pass legislation that would make the role of QB3 a roster-exempt position.

The new rule would come with a couple of caveats, however.

  1. The quarterback in question can not be carried as a practice squad player and must instead make the initial 53-man roster (elevated players can not be used in this capacity).
  2. The team is required to notify officials no later than 90 minutes prior to kickoff of their inactives list, as usual, but may then designate one player as their emergency quarterback for that contest.
  3. The player designated as the emergency QB can not take the field unless both the starting and backup QB (QB2) are injured, and if either of the latter are medically cleared to return to the game, the emergency QB (QB3) must be removed from the contest (only to return if the first two QBs are again made unavailable due to injury).

Additionally, as mentioned, it's key to note that listing an emergency quarterback will not burn/cost the team a roster spot for that respective game, effectively granting him the aforementioned roster exemption.

For a player like Will Grier, this is fantastic news. It means he has a shot at suiting up for every game this season versus being relegated to inactives simply because the Cowboys can't afford to sacrifice a roster spot on gameday that could and should go to another position, e.g., special teams, defensive line, etc. in the event of injury or strategic maneuvering for competitive reasons.

This is of course assuming Cooper Rush remains QB2 going forward, as his re-signing this offseason strongly implies, though Grier and Rush will again battle it out in training camp — as they did in 2022 prior to the former suffering a groin injury that derailed a promising summer.

But regardless of who is relegated to third string, the good news is they'll be on the sideline ready to go in at a moment's notice and without the Cowboys needing to shuffle pieces around to make room for them.

And should the top two quarterbacks exit with injury, you won't have to potentially worry about a long snapper trying to save the day.

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