The NFL is conducting its annual Spring meeting in Minneapolis this week. League-wide matters are being discussed, including the implementation of new rules and procedures. One rule was approved that directly impacts the Tennessee Titans and sophomore quarterback Malik Willis.
NFL owners approved the bylaw proposal allowing teams to dress a third QB without using an active roster spot, I’m told. A no-brainer to bring it back in the aftermath of the San Francisco playoff game.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 22, 2023
The league has approved an emergency third quarterback rule. There are some important caveats. The emergency third quarterback must appear on the current 53-man roster (no practice squad callups allowed). Said quarterback may only feature if the top two quarterbacks suffer an injury.
Essentially call it the San Francisco 49ers rule. The 49ers saw two quarterbacks (Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson) suffer an injury in the NFC Championship Game. Roster restrictions made it difficult for the 49ers to have a No. 3 quarterback. Running back Christian McCaffrey was forced to play quarterback as a result. It was an uninspiring embarrassment for one of the league’s most important games. This rule ensures something like that will probably never occur in the postseason again.
It may potentially directly impacts Willis. The Titans drafted Will Levis in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Ryan Tannehill remains in the starting role. The Titans have often carried two, not three, quarterbacks on the active roster. Math indicates Willis would be the odd man out.
But this new rule could convince the Titans to keep Willis on their 53-man roster. Willis would still have to flash enough progress to warrant such retention, but the Titans lack back-end-of-roster depth. Willis won’t be in contention with many talented players for spots 48 through 53. Knowing that they’d still be allowed 46 active roster spots on game-day in addition to Willis serving as No. 47 could increase Willis’ chances.
Will the passing of this new rule help Willis stay on Tennessee’s roster? Time will tell.