Are you curious about how many NFL players there are?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: There are 1,696 players in the NFL.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deeper into the details of how many players are in the NFL and what it means for the league.

Breaking down the numbers

The National Football League (NFL) is the most popular professional sports league in the United States, and it consists of 32 teams, evenly divided between the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).

Number of NFL Teams

As mentioned, there are 32 teams in the NFL, all of which are based in the United States. Each team represents a different city, and some of the most popular teams include the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, and Green Bay Packers.

Roster Size

Each NFL team has a roster of 53 players during the regular season. This includes quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, offensive and defensive linemen, linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties, and special teams players. However, during the off-season, teams are allowed to have up to 90 players on their roster, which includes players signed to future contracts, undrafted free agents, and tryout players.

Comparison to Other Sports Leagues

Compared to other professional sports leagues in the United States, the NFL has a relatively smaller number of players. For example, Major League Baseball (MLB) has 30 teams, each with a 26-man active roster and up to 40 players on their expanded roster during the regular season. The National Basketball Association (NBA), on the other hand, has 30 teams, each with a roster of up to 15 players.

It’s important to note that the number of players on a team’s roster can vary depending on the league’s collective bargaining agreement, which outlines the rules and regulations for player salaries, benefits, and other important factors.


The selection process

If you’re wondering how many NFL players there are, the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. The number of players in the league is constantly changing, with new players being drafted or signed as free agents every year. Here is a breakdown of the selection process and how many players are involved at each stage.

The NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is an annual event in which each team selects eligible college football players. The draft consists of seven rounds, with each team having one pick per round. In total, there are 255 players selected in the draft each year. However, not all players who are drafted end up making the final roster.

Undrafted free agents

Players who are not selected in the draft can still sign with teams as undrafted free agents. In fact, many successful NFL players, such as Tony Romo and Wes Welker, were undrafted. The number of undrafted free agents varies from year to year, but there are typically around 500 who sign with teams.

Training camp and preseason

Once the draft and free agency period is over, teams hold training camp to evaluate their players and determine who will make the final roster. The number of players in training camp varies by team, but it’s typically around 90. From there, teams must cut their roster down to 53 players for the regular season.

So, how many NFL players are there? It ultimately depends on the time of year. During the offseason, there are around 2,000 players in the league (including those on practice squads and injured reserve). During the regular season, each team has 53 players on the active roster, plus 10 on the practice squad and additional players on injured reserve. This means there are around 1,700 players in the league during the regular season.

If you want to learn more about the NFL selection process, check out for information on the draft, and for information on free agency.

The importance of practice squads

If you’re a fan of the NFL, you’ve probably heard of practice squads. But if you’re new to the sport, you might be wondering what they are and why they’re important. In this section, we’ll answer those questions and more.

What are Practice Squads?

Practice squads are a group of players who don’t make the final roster of a team, but are still signed to the team and practice with them throughout the season. These players are often rookies or younger players who are still developing their skills. Practice squad players are paid a weekly salary, but they are not eligible to play in games unless they are signed to the active roster.

How Many Players Can be on a Practice Squad?

Each NFL team is allowed to have up to 16 players on their practice squad. This number was increased from 10 in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, only six of those players can be veterans who have played in no more than two NFL seasons. The other 10 players can be anyone, regardless of experience.

Why are Practice Squads Important?

Practice squads are important for a number of reasons. First, they provide teams with depth at each position. If a player on the active roster gets injured, a practice squad player can be signed to the active roster to take their place. Second, practice squads give young players an opportunity to develop their skills and gain valuable experience. Lastly, practice squads help teams prepare for upcoming opponents by providing a scout team for the starting players to practice against.

The impact of injuries

The impact of injuries is a major concern for NFL players and teams. Injuries can have a significant impact on the number of players in the league, as well as the overall competitiveness of the league. Injuries can range from minor sprains and strains to more serious injuries such as concussions, torn ligaments, and broken bones. These injuries can sideline players for weeks, months, or even an entire season.

When a player is injured, they are typically placed on the injury reserve list. This list is designed to protect injured players by preventing them from being released from their team due to their injury. While on the injury reserve list, players are not eligible to participate in games or practice with the team. In order for a player to be removed from the list and return to the active roster, they must be cleared by the team’s medical staff and meet certain criteria, such as being able to participate in practice without any limitations.

According to Pro Football Network, during the 2020 NFL season, there were a total of 1,948 injuries reported. Of those injuries, 523 resulted in players being placed on the injury reserve list. The most common injuries were knee injuries, followed by ankle injuries and hamstring injuries.

Top 3 Most Common Injuries in the NFL (2020) Number of Injuries
Knee injuries 253
Ankle injuries 190
Hamstring injuries 175

As you can see, injuries are a major concern for NFL players and teams. They can have a significant impact on the number of players in the league and the overall competitiveness of the league. It is important for players to take care of their bodies and for teams to have strong medical staffs to help prevent and treat injuries.

The future of the NFL

The National Football League (NFL) is one of the most popular and lucrative professional sports leagues in the world. As the league continues to grow, many wonder what the future holds. Here are three factors that could shape the future of the NFL:

Expansion teams

One possibility for the future of the NFL is the addition of expansion teams. Currently, the league has 32 teams, but there has been talk of adding more. In fact, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated that he believes the league could support up to 40 teams.

Adding more teams could bring more fans and more revenue to the league. However, it could also dilute the talent pool and make it more difficult for teams to be competitive. Additionally, adding more teams would require a realignment of divisions and schedules, which could create logistical challenges.

International players

The NFL has been working to expand its international reach in recent years. One way it has done this is by playing regular season games in London and Mexico City. Additionally, the league has held the NFL International Player Pathway program, which gives international players the opportunity to compete for a spot on an NFL team.

Expanding the league’s talent pool to include more international players could bring new fans to the sport and create exciting new storylines. However, there could be challenges in terms of language barriers and cultural differences.

The impact of technology

Technology has already had a significant impact on the NFL, from instant replay to player tracking systems. In the future, technology could continue to revolutionize the sport. For example, the league is exploring the use of virtual reality technology to enhance fan experiences.

Advancements in technology could also impact player safety. The league has already taken steps to reduce head injuries and other serious injuries, but new technologies could make the sport even safer.


In conclusion, the number of NFL players is constantly changing and evolving. With roster sizes, practice squads, and injury lists, there are a variety of factors that impact the number of players in the league at any given time. However, one thing is for certain: the NFL will continue to adapt and grow in the coming years, bringing more players into the fold and expanding the reach of the sport across the globe.

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