NFL owners are gathering in Atlanta this week for a series of meetings as well as a vote on several proposed bylaw changes. Among those proposals are moving the trade deadline back from Week 6 to Week 8, allowing one player on IR to return that season and making hip and thigh pads mandatory.
These are some intriguing proposals on the table.
The trade deadline is criticized as being too early in the season, which leads to little activity. Football isn't like other sports where one player can make such a major difference so you don't see a large number of trades during that time. Moving it back to Week 8 gives teams a better idea of where they stand for that season. In Week 6, even teams that are struggling can hold out hope that they'll be competitive that year, which means they're less likely to trade players away. Moving it back could encourage more activity around the deadline. I'd say move it back even further, past Week 10.
The rule on potentially allowing a player on IR to return later that season is also extremely interesting. It's a way to gain an extra roster spot for a period of time -- sorta like the disabled list in baseball -- so that you don't have to save a roster for a player that might miss half the season or more. Sometimes players are placed on IR even if they won't be hurt for the entire season. If a player is hurt in Week 1 and expected to be out for 12 weeks, many teams would place the player on IR and end his season because they can't afford to waste a roster spot all season. This would allow teams to place the player on IR and still leave open the option of him returning later in the year. The Chiefs had some injuries last year but this probably would not have helped with the ACL trio because that injury would have kept them out all season anyway.