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NFL sets single day high with 106 players going on reserve/COVID-19 list

Vincent Frank

As the NFL continues to navigate through the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs, COVID-19 has become a major storyline.

It’s not what the league and their teams has envisioned when they promoted vaccination of players ahead of Week 1. However, the Omicron variant has proven to be vaccine resistent to an extent.

Here’s the latest on that around the league.

The NFL announced on Monday that 106 players have been added to the reserve/COVID-19 list, all via positive tests. That includes 96 players who tested positive on Monday and another 10 from over the weekend. It is now the single-day high around the league.

Related: Updated NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Notable NFL players placed on reserve/COVID-19 list Monday

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dec 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) walks off to the sidelines after an apparent injury during the first half against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

While a vast majority of players don’t have any symptoms after testing positive for the virus, there’s this whole thing called competitive balance.

We’ve seen this multiple times since Omicron became the dominant variant around the NFL. That is to say, multiple teams missing starting quarterbacks and other key players for important late-season games. Here’s a look at some of the players placed on said list Monday, some of which will miss Week 17’s action.

  • Brian Burns, EDGE, Carolina Panthers
  • Shaq Thompson, linebacker, Carolina Panthers
  • Brandon Allen, quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Braden Smith, offensive tackle, Indianapolis Colts
  • Malik Jefferson, linebacker, Indianapolis Colts
  • Marlon Mack, running back, Indianapolis Colts
  • Kwon Alexander, linebacker, New Orleans Saints
  • Mike Evans, wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Julio Jones, wide receiver, Tennessee Titans
  • Bud Dupree, EDGE, Tennessee Titans

Last season, there were only 262 player positives around the NFL. In the month of December alone, there’s been north of 400 positives. That just goes to show us the changing dynamics of COVID-19 around the globe and in the United States.

As for competitive balance, there’s multiple playoff contending teams facing significant outbreaks of COVID-19 as the NFL regular season wraps up with two more weeks of action.

Related: NFL Week 17 power rankings

NFL teams most impacted by COVID-19

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints
Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Ian Book (16) walks to the locker room after the game against Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
  • New Orleans Saints: 21
  • Los Angeles Chargers: 15
  • Baltimore Ravens: 14
  • Indianapolis Colts: 13
  • Cleveland Browns: 10
  • Miami Dolphins: 8
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: 8
  • Buffalo Bills: 7
  • Kansas City Chiefs: 7
  • Tennessee Titans: 7
  • New England Patriots: 6
  • Cincinnati Bengals: 5
  • Dallas Cowboys: 5

In particular, the New Orleans Saints will be forced to start rookie Ian Book under center Monday night against the Miami Dolphins. New Orleans currently finds itself a half game out of the final wildcard spot in the NFC.

This is a major backdrop as the NFL regular season comes to a conclusion and the playoffs starting up in January.