How the Newly Adopted Trade Deadline Rules Will Change the Future of the NFL

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IAugust 31, 2012

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 5:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and NFLPA Executive Director Demaurice Smith talk before signing the NFL's new 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement at the Pro Football Hall of Fame August 5, 2011 in Canton, Ohio.   (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The NFL and NFLPA have agreed upon a new trade deadline rule that will benefit both sides and change the landscape of playoff races for years to come. Additionally, an adjustment was made to the injured reserve rules that will be good for the game. 

According to the Washington Post's Mark Maske:

The NFL’s injured reserve rules will be modified for this season, allowing one player per team to be activated from the IR list, and the sport’s trade deadline will be pushed back.

Previously, any player placed on the IR list was ineligible to play again for the same team that season. Now each team can activate one player per season from the IR list. The trade deadline is to come after the eighth week of the season instead of after the season’s sixth weekend of games.

These new rules are going to give teams more flexibility from year-to-year. 


Trade Deadline

It's amazing how much things can change in two weeks in the NFL. 

The old rule—allowing trades only through the first six weeks—didn't give teams enough time to see how the season would turn out, and the extra two weeks gives them a clearer picture of how the season may unfold. 

Let's say your favorite team gets off to a hot start, winning four or five games within the first six weeks. With the old rules, it won't matter if, in Week 7, your quarterback goes down with a season-ending injury and you don't have a terrific backup. 

Now, with the new rules, teams have two extra games to maneuver—a change that could mean the difference between finishing the season with a shot at the playoffs or finishing the season with a whimper. 

Moving the trade deadline back will inevitably facilitate more trades, specifically trades that will significantly affect the playoff races towards the end of the year. The NFL hasn't been known for being a league that saw many in-season trades in the past, but these extra two weeks will change all that for good. 

The bottom line is that this rule makes for a more interesting and exciting second half of the season, and the playoff races around the league will be even more fun to watch. 


Injured Reserve 

As much as I'm a fan of the new trade deadline, the adjustment to the injured reserve rule will have an even bigger positive impact on teams going forward. 

According to, here are the details of this new rule:

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.

Terrell Thomas of the New York Giants, center Kyle Cook of the Cincinnati Bengals and Desmond Bishop of the Green Bay Packers could all benefit from this new rule. 

It's really a win-win with no negative downside—except perhaps to those who may have taken their roster spot. 

We've seen so many players in the past become lost for the season even though they'd be ready to play before the season was finished. Now, if teams utilize the rule properly, they'll be able to be stronger for the playoff push at the end of the year. 


Let us know what you think about these rule changes in the comments section below. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78