The NFL's new protocols surrounding COVID-19 requirements are already having an effect on team rosters.
The Buffalo Bills announced Wednesday that wide receiver Cole Beasley, wide receiver Gabriel Davis, offensive lineman Jon Feliciano and defensive end A.J. Espenesa were all being activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) December 29, 2021
NFL's new COVID-19 protocols led to activation
All four players are being activated thanks to the NFL and NFLPA's newly updated joint COVID-19 protocols. The new rules, which were announced on Tuesday, shortens the required quarantine time following a positive test. If a player tests positive and is asymptomatic, they are now required to quarantine for only five days instead of 10. The updated protocols follow the CDC's updated guidance on COVID quarantines, which were released Monday.
Those new quarantine rules apply to vaccinated and unvaccinated players, and took effect immediately for all players — including those who were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Beasley, who is unvaccinated, was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Dec. 21. With the updated protocols, he was able to come off the list in eight days. Davis, who is also unvaccinated, was activated after exactly five days.
While Beasley likely would have been activated from the list at the 10-day mark without the rule change, Davis would have had to spend another five on the list before being activated. Both players missed the Bills' 33-21 win over the New England Patriots in Week 16, but will now be active for their Week 17 game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The 9-6 Bills will need all hands on deck to keep pace in the AFC East with the Pats, who are also 9-6 and playing the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.