The NFL owners meetings aren’t usually one of my highlights of the spring, but a couple of interesting changes came out of the gathering on Tuesday. According to sources, the owners have agreed to move the trade deadline from Week 6 to Week 8 and they have also decided to change the injured reserve rule to allow each team the option to place one player on IR for only part of the season instead of the move ending the player’s year.
I have to say that I’m a big fan of both of these changes, and I don’t see any reason why the players would object. The trade deadline isn’t ever a huge deal in the NFL like it is in some other sports, but moving it back two weeks could make it more interesting as teams get more desperate later in the season. I could see a few more moves resulting from the two-week delay, but I do think that high-profile trades due to injury could have a better chance of increasing.
The IR rule is outstanding. Being able to use a roster spot of a star player who will miss a good chunk of the season without losing him for the year will be a very interesting adjustment. According to those familiar with the specifics, “a player who is on the roster for Week One and then gets hurt during the season can be placed on injured reserve and designated for return, and then can return to practice six weeks later and play in a game eight weeks later.”
Neither one of these changes are earth-shattering by any means, but I do think they are a big deal and will have an impact on the game. The IR rule should especially factor in right away, and I wouldn’t be shocked if moving the trade deadline back created some buzz as well during Week 8. Good work, owners.