With less than a week to go until the ball flies end over end through the New Jersey twilight (unless the team tries to make the replacement officials’ heads implode by attempting an onside kick), the NFL has announced that new rules will apply in 2012 for the trade deadline and injured reserve.
The easy part relates to the trade deadline. It has been moved from October 16 to October 30. So instead of the Tuesday after Week Six, trades must happen by 4:00 p.m. ET on the Tuesday after Week Eight.
The injured reserve rule allows one player per team to be activated from IR after a “major injury.” The player must miss at least six weeks of practice. He may be placed on the active list at least eight weeks after placement on injured reserve.
Unlike the PUP list, then, the window for returning to practice doesn’t close. Once it’s open, it stays open.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft has said that, if such a provision had been in place four years ago, the team possibly would have used the designation for quarterback Tom Brady, who tore an ACL in Week One.
Here’s where it gets complicated. Because teams already have cut to 75, a special procedure applies for 2012. As to teams that already have placed players on IR, the player for whom the short-term IR procedure will be used must be placed back on the active roster by 9:00 p.m. ET, August 31. He’ll then count as one of the final 53.
Then, after 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 4, each team can place one player on the modified IR list.
This means that teams hoping to use the new IR rule for a player already on injured reserve will have to displace another player for nearly four days, using a roster spot for the injured player and then creating a roster spot next Tuesday, when that player goes back to IR.
Confused? Good. Because it took me an hour to figure it out.
It will take far less than an hour for you to check out a slice of PFT Live regarding the looming roster reductions, along with admittedly rank speculation about a couple of possible surprise moves.