NFL will vote on further expansion of IR return

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Not long ago, a player placed on injured reserve had his season end. The league then altered the rules to allow for one player placed on injured reserve to return later in the year. Then, it was doubled.

Now, it may grow from two to three.

Via Albert Breer of, NFL owners will vote next week on the potential expansion of players who can be designated for return from IR. More importantly, the owners will vote on a twist as to the timing of the placement on IR.

Currently, the injured player must be included on the initial 53-man roster before being placed on IR in order to be designated for return. If approved, the new approach would allow a player who lands on IR the day before the roster reduction from 90 to 53 to late return from IR.

The current approach often results in a player who otherwise would have made the team being cut, which then exposes him to waivers or departure via free agency before he can be brought back. The proposed change would allow teams to avoid that glitch by setting up the potential IR return without going through the artificial exercise of keeping the injured player on the initial 53-man roster.

The potential changes are part of an ongoing effort to best balance giving injured players a legitimate chance to return to service without forcing the team to keep him on the roster against minimizing the possibility that a coach is simply stashing players who otherwise would be waived or released.

6 responses to “NFL will vote on further expansion of IR return

  1. Can’t wait for coaches to start “stashing” players on IR just because they can…

  2. sameer1138 says:
    May 22, 2020 at 10:01 am
    Can’t wait for coaches to start “stashing” players on IR just because they can…


    Start stashing? They’ve already been doing that.

  3. sameer1138 says:
    May 22, 2020 at 10:01 am
    Can’t wait for coaches to start “stashing” players on IR just because they can…
    That was the reason for the restrictions in the first place. In today’s NFL the rules are fungible if any advantage can be gained. It also hurts the players because their whole season would be lost on a minor injury if they were good enough to keep but not quite good enough to play yet. The return designation doesn’t make a whole lot of difference on the cases mentioned in the article.

  4. It’s a small, common-sense improvement to the process. The “damage” of stashing a low-roster player (one not good enough for the team to even want to use in the given season) on IR is minimal, but for teams hit with bad injury luck the negatives of the current process are much worse. Having to cut someone who would otherwise make the roster in order to retain the ability to return an injured star from the IR in-season is much lousier than teams stashing very minor guys.

  5. I am all for larger IR Return lists and more ability to protect Practice Squad players – certain (if not all) positions require a year or two to develop a player so it would help to be able to draft well and protect future talent – I guess teams still need the ability to pick up Practice Squad players but it should be limited somewhat.

  6. Definitely a step in the right direction. The owners should consider an expansion of the 53 man roster for at least this year, otherwise a spread of Covid on a team could decimate a roster.

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