The NFL and the Player’s Association have agreed to a few rule changes regarding reserve/injured (IR) and the trade deadline:
The trading deadline (moved) from Tuesday, October 16 – the Tuesday after Week 6 of the regular season – to Tuesday, October 30, the Tuesday after Week 8.
Following the cutdown to 53 players, the new Reserve/Injured rule will work as follows:
1. Only players with a “major injury” who are placed on Reserve/Injured after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on Tuesday, September 4, or thereafter during the season, will be eligible to be reactivated at a later time.
2. A “major injury” is defined as an injury that renders the player unable to practice or play football for at least six weeks (42 calendar days) from the date of injury.
3. Each team may reactivate only one player placed on Reserve/Injured after 4:00 p.m., New York time, on Tuesday, September 4. That player must be “designated for return” at the time the club places him on Reserve/Injured, and such designation shall appear on that day’s Personnel Notice.
4. Such player is eligible to return to practice if he has been on Reserve/Injured for at least six weeks from the date he is placed on Reserve. He is eligible to return to the Active List if he has been on Reserve/Injured for at least eight weeks from the date he is placed on Reserve.
Source: NFL Press Release
Before this rule change a player place on the reserve/injured list was done for the season but now a team can designate one for return.
A later trade deadline should lead to more trades during the season as teams will be able to evaluate their situation further into the year. Teams may need to obtain a player, especially if a starter is lost to injury, while others, likely not in contention, may look to gain draft picks and/or dump high salaries.