Sealver Siglia’s return to the Seahawks shows how injury settlements work, how traditionally “season-ending” injured reserve doesn’t always mean the end of a guy’s season.
Seattle on Tuesday signed back the veteran defensive tackle it had put on IR at the end of August. The Seahawks added Siliga, a Super Bowl winner with New England when the Patriots beat the Seahawks two seasons ago, after they put defensive tackle Garrison Smith on injured reserve Tuesday.
Seattle claimed Smith off waivers from San Francisco Sept. 4 with a $450,000, one-year contract. He played 19 snaps last weekend in the win over Atlanta. He had been questionable to play that game because of an oblique injury.
Siliga went on IR August 29 after he reported to training camp with a calf injury that never healed. But rather than spend the entire season on Seattle’s injured-reserve list and getting his salary of $1.05 million from the one-year contract he signed in the offseason, as vested veterans can, Siliga reached an injury settlement. That’s an agreement between the injured player who believes he will be healed enough to play before the season ends and the releasing team. It gives an up-front payment in lieu of paying his contract in 17 weekly parts over the remainder of the season. The settlement allows that player to become a free agent available to sign with any team, following a negotiated period of expected healing time. It also allows the releasing team to get that veteran’s contract off its salary cap for that season.
This offseason the league changed its injury-settlement rules to cut in half the time a team that first agreed to such a settlement could re-sign that player. Now, a team can re-sign a player with which it reached an injury settlement three weeks after the settlement time.
That time had obviously passed for Siliga. He goes right onto the team’s active roster for Sunday night’s game at Arizona.
The league also has one other way a player on injured reserve can return during that season: Each team gets one IR designation for return each season. Any player on the active roster for week one who then gets injured can go on IR and return to practice in six weeks and games in eight weeks, health allowing. As I wrote here two weeks ago, starting outside linebacker Mike Morgan is a candidate for to be Seattle’s IR-designated-to-return player this season following his recent surgery for a sports hernia.