When news broke about the owners' proposed exemption to the Injured Reserve system back in May, most people around the NFL, including the fans, seemed to think it was a good idea. It allows a single player to be placed on a special injured reserve, thereby not taking up a roster spot, but being eligible to return at or after the midway point of the season. Everybody likes this idea, from the players to the teams to the fans.
Now, we don't yet know the extent of Desmond Bishop's leg injury, but it looked bad - bad enough that the IR exemption immediately came to my mind. Bishop likely will miss a substantial amount of time, but may be able to return later on in the season and contribute. It sounds like an ideal situation, right? Now we just need the NFLPA to approve the Injured Reserve exemption.
Wait, what? That's still in limbo? HOLD EVERYTHING.
Imagine my surprise when I read Ed Valentine's post on Big Blue View saying that the IR exemption hasn't been approved yet. As Ed found out, the owners proposed and approved this change, but the NFLPA has not signed off on it yet. Why they have yet to agree to this? The new rule gives the teams more roster flexibility, and assures players that they won't necessarily have to be an IR casualty or get cut outright if they suffer a serious, but not season-ending injury in the preseason. It's a win-win! Ed even got a quote from an NFLPA spokesperson showing that the union supports the rule:
The NFLPA is strongly in favor of adding flexibility to the Injured Reserve designation.
So why haven't the players approved it? Ed speculates that it is tied to other issues. John Clayton expands on this, suggesting that the "other issue" is the movement of the trade deadline from Week 6 to Week 8. If the NFL had a large number of trades at the deadline like the other major sports, I could see this be a sticking point, but the only "big-name" players that I can think of who were traded mid-season in recent years were Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd. How can this minor change be a sticking point when the other issue at hand has such unanimous support?
Let's all hope that Bishop's injury is not as serious as it seems, and that it makes this discussion moot. However, if it's as bad as we fear, we should hope that this rule gets approved sometime during the preseason and that Bishop can be put on this special IR list if necessary.