For years, the NFL has observed a weekly deadline when it comes to the implementation of suspensions. If the suspension isn’t finalized by 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the suspension gets delayed until the next week.
The dynamic first became widely known in the latter days of StarCaps, when it was clear that long-pending suspensions would be served and a weekly trigger of 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday would determine whether that week would be the week.
The NFL is now distancing itself from this past practice in the Ezekiel Elliott case, telling league employee Tom Pelissero that there is no such rule. But Pelissero acknowledges that the Cowboys believe the deadline applies. (Per a league source, so does Elliott’s camp.)
As one source explained it to PF, the practice arose from concerns of fairness and competitive balance. Teams need to know who they will or won’t be putting on the field, and their opponents need to know who they will or won’t be facing.
It’s unclear why the NFL is suddenly abandoning this practice. Maybe the person most keenly aware of it wasn’t invited to the meeting.