NFL Adds New Rule Regarding QBs in 2023

Sep 30, 2022; Thundridge, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks David Blough (2), Kirk Cousins (8) and Nick Mullens (12) during practice at Hanbury Manor. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt that the quarterback position has become the most important position in football due to the ever-increasing amount of passing in the NFL. In recent years, the league has forced teams to put any available quarterbacks on the active roster of 46 players for game days. This rule has been in place since 2011.

However, a new rule has been put in place that changes that. Instead, according to a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the league has implemented a new system, allowing teams to suit up a third QB on game days without eating up a spot on the active roster. Basically, teams can now suit up 47 players as long as that 47th player is a quarterback.

NFL Adds New Rule
Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) run onto the field for warmup prior to their game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It should be noted that teams were able to do something similar up until that 2011 season when the new collective bargaining agreement went into effect. Teams could suit up three QBs, but that third quarterback was not allowed to play until the fourth quarter.

This change comes just months after we saw the San Francisco 49ers go through injuries to both Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. As a result, they were limited to a rushing offense for much of the second half of the game and even considered putting in Christian McCaffrey as their de facto QB.

For the Vikings, this means we will likely see Jaren Hall suiting up on game days as Minnesota’s ’emergency’ QB in case both Kirk Cousins and Nick Mullens were to suffer an injury during the game.

Nov 26, 2022; Stanford, California, USA; Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) throws during warmups before a game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

There are a few stipulations to this rule, though. According to Field Yates of ESPN, the emergency quarterback cannot be a called up member of the practice squad. They will have to be on the original 53-man roster in order to qualify, and the player can only come into the game as an injury substitution.

For example, if Cousins were to get hurt, and Mullens came in and immediately threw interceptions on three straight possessions, Kevin O’Connell would not be able to substitute Mullens with Hall under this new rule simply because Mullens was playing poorly. Mullens would have to leave the game with an injury designation in order for Hall to play.

At the end of the day, this is a positive rule change for the league as it allows teams to have more of a competitive backup plan in case they were to suffer multiple QB injuries in a game such as what happened to San Francisco back in January.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.