LA Rams face more stringent NFL/NFLPA IR rule changes

Mandatory Credit: John McCoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John McCoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to relax some rules. Those rule changes, at first glance, appear to be quite favorable to the LA Rams in the 2022 NFL season.  On the other hand, the NFL and NFLPA have also agreed to tighten other rules. And as we all know, the LA Rams must abide by both the positive and the negative changes.

One of the rule changes on the tightening side began with rules modified to compensate for the risk of COVID-19 in 2020.  At that time, the change was the relaxation of the criteria that authorized restoring a player from the Injured Reserve list. In the past two seasons, NFL teams could designate an unlimited number of players to return, and any players selected to return only need to remain on IR for three games.

Now, the NFL and NFLPA have tightened up both parts of that rule. Not only will teams be limited to eight players returning to active duty from IR, but the players themselves must sit out a minimum of four games on Injured Reserve. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo has highlighted this latest rule change.

How will this rule change impact the LA Rams?

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Rules change could adversely impact the LA Rams

With limits to the number of players returning from IR in any given season, would the team be able to welcome back Cam Akers at the end of the season? Would any of the players who return for the LA Rams in the postseason from Injured Reserve have been able to do so? Or would the team, facing numerous injuries all year, have exhausted all eight restorations long before the NFL Playoffs?

The bonus is that the rule changes apply to all 32 teams. But as we know all too well, depending upon how each time is impacted by injuries, the rules may be unnoticed by one time, but completely paralyzing to another team.

Which side of the fence will the Rams find themselves this year? Hopefully, the team will be less impacted by injuries this year than in 2021. But that could be just wishful thinking, as many of the players who were injured, and who injure somewhat readily, are back on the roster this season. Same input equals same output, right?

The LA Rams will need to be healthier in 2022 to avoid being hurt by this rule change. But if not, there will be far fewer ‘miracle returns’ late in the season by an injured player. No Andrew Whitworth returning for the playoffs in 2020. No Cam Akers returning for the playoffs in 2021.

While it affects all 32 teams, it’s a  bit disappointing to realize that there is far less likely a chance for any miraculous returns to the roster in 2022.

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