First things first. We don't know any details about Tony Moeaki's shoulder injury other than that it's a shoulder fracture. We can speculate on how long he's out but we don't really know. There are a whole bunch of joints, bones and other things going on in the shoulder and ... well, I just don't know how long this injury will keep him out.
The injury could be short-term or long-term. Let's take a look at the Chiefs options right now, ranging from what we hope happens to what we hope doesn't happen.
They could do nothing and wait for him to return
The best case scenario.
We hope this is what happens because that would mean this injury isn't that long-term. We have no idea how long his injury will keep him out but let's say it's just a few weeks. This could be something they consider.
However, if they did this, it means Moeaki would remain on the active roster and count towards the Chiefs 53-man roster limit. That's the downside -- the Chiefs would be using a roster spot on a player who can not play for a certain amount of time.
They could place him on IR but designated for return
The new rule. Teams can place one player on IR and designated him for return, which means he could return later in the season.
A few things about this:
- The player's injury has to be "major". In this case that means they can't practice for at least six weeks. I'm sure there are varying interpretations of major.
- The Chiefs can't make this roster move until September 3. So they would carry Moeaki on the roster through cut downs. Final cut downs are on August 31.
- The Chiefs would have to label Moeaki as designated for return at the time of placing him on IR. So they can't place him on IR and then decide a few weeks later they want to make it designated for return. It has to be done up front.
- Six weeks after being placed on the list, Moeaki could return to practice.
- Eight weeks after being placed on the list, Moeaki could return to the active roster and play again.
- You can only use it on one player. So it would be Moeaki and no one else.
They could place him on IR
Regular 'ol injured reserve. This would immediately end his season with no chance of coming back. This would be the option if Moeaki's shoulder fracture keeps him out for multiple months.
This is the least-desirable option for Chiefs fans.
They could negotiate an injury settlement
Teams can't cut injured players. So they negotiate injury settlements in the cases of releasing an injured player.
I don't know much about how this works but it's basically what you think it is. A team will try to negotiate a price to end the relationship with the injured player, for whatever reason. It's a parting of ways.
PUP list is not an option
That's the Physically Unable to Perform list.
A player on the regular season PUP list has to be on the PUP list from the start of camp. So once you participate in camp, even one snap, all PUP options are off the table.
The advantage of the PUP list is that you gain a roster spot once you put a player on it. The PUP list means you would be out for at least the first six weeks of the regular season.