RENTON The Seahawks set me straight on the confusing particulars of the league’s new riles on the injured-reserve list and on waived-injured players.
The upshot: a player such as former starting defensive tackle Jordan Hill could return to the Seahawks this season.
The NFL owners voted in March at league meetings to change a league bylaw on the IR rules. This season, teams can bring back one player per season off injured reserve provided that player was on the 53-man active roster to start the regular season (on or after Sept. 3) AND that player is out at least six weeks of the regular season.
A Seahawks executive explained to me the caveat of having to be on the active roster to begin the season. (Sunday, I mistakenly interpreted the new rule; I haven’t found an official rules change from the league on it. My apologies. Writing this to try to help end that confusion).
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Previously, a team had to designate at the time it put one such player on IR that he was going to return that season.
The new IR rule will come into play for any Seahawk injured from this point forward, because he would have been on the 53-man roster to begin the regular season.
Under the new rule Hill. whom the Seahawks waived-injured on Saturday following a hamstring injury last week and groin injury last month, cannot come back to the team this season. He wasn’t on the 53-man to begin the regular season.
But he can return under another new rule, one regarding waived-injured players.
A team can bring back a player it has waived injured if it reaches an injury settlement with that player to make him a free agent. The rule is the waiving team has to wait three weeks beyond the negotiated settlement recovery time before that player can return to his previous team. The old rule was a team had to wait six weeks before such a player could return to the same team.
Each injury settlement for a waived player includes a payment, plus a negotiated time period before he becomes a free agent. That’s the time agreed upon it will take that player to heal from the injury that got him waived in the first place.
Say, for the sake of an example, Hill reaches an injury settlement with the Seahawks and it states a four-week recovery time from what coach Pete Carroll said last week was a “tweaked” hamstring. Hill then becomes a free agent after those four weeks from the date of the injury settlement agreement. He could sign with any other team immediately after that negotiated, four-week time. He could sign back with the Seahawks three weeks after those four weeks. In this example, that would have him on the team for the final nine games of the regular season, signed at a prorated salary likely just above the league minimum for a fourth-year veteran.
“They come back a little sooner to you in three weeks. And that's something that you know you have a guy available in half the time than it was before. So that’s good,” Carroll said. “It's good for the players, too.
“I'm glad that that happened. That was a good rule to get guys back on their team so they can have a chance to make a living doing it as well and help them.”