On Thursday, the official NFL transactions report revealed that Kansas City Chiefs running back Derrick Gore — who had been placed on the team’s Reserve/Injured (injured reserve) list on Tuesday as the team trimmed its roster to 80 players — has been released from the list with an injury settlement.
Gore had suffered a broken thumb during Saturday’s 24-14 victory over the Washington Commanders at Arrowhead Stadium.
On Wednesday, the Chiefs took the same action with wide receiver Gary Jennings, who went into the concussion protocol after putting his head through a window during an indoor practice session at training camp. Jennings was waived with an injury designation on August 15 and then reverted to the team’s Reserve/Injured list after clearing waivers.
Up until this agreement between these two players and the Chiefs, the players would have had to remain on the injured reserve list for the entire season because they had been placed there before the final 53-man roster cutdown. While they were on IR, they would have continued to be paid — and that salary would have counted against the team’s salary cap.
An injury settlement allows the team and a player to agree on how much they will be paid over the time they believe the player will be recovering. Once the team and player sign off on the deal, the player immediately becomes a free agent (in Gore’s case, after clearing waivers), but they cannot be re-signed to the original team until three weeks have passed from the end of the recovery period specified in the settlement.
This means that both Gore and Jennings could immediately sign with another team. It’s more likely, however, that the agreement between them and the team pays them their original weekly salary for their recovery periods plus the three-week waiting period — and perhaps a little more. This way, they are motivated to wait until they can re-sign with the Chiefs.
In addition, this arrangement keeps them available for a potential return without being on the initial 53-man roster — which must happen in order to them to be eligible to return from IR during the season. One additional consideration: teams may now return only eight players from IR during a given season. Under this arrangement, the Chiefs don’t have to use one of those IR returns on either of these players.
While we don’t know how long these injury settlements extend, we believe the players’ injuries won’t keep either one from being available to practice (or play) for more than a matter of weeks. Either could be available to return to either the practice squad or active roster in as little as four to six weeks.