The NFL trade deadline has been pushed back by two weeks and there will be a slight modification to the injured reserve rule that will allow a player to return during the season.
Both the league and union agreed to the changes that will go into effect for the upcoming campaign.
The trade deadline will now be the Tuesday after Week 8 of the season instead of the Tuesday after Week 6, while teams will be allowed to activate one player off injured reserve during the season.
Previously, any player placed on injured reserve was lost for the remainder of the season.
For 2012, however, one player deemed to have a "major injury" can return during the season. A "major injury" is defined as one that will keep a player sidelined for at least six weeks.
If a player is placed on IR after September 4, he can return to practice six weeks later and can become part of the active list two weeks after that. The team must label the injured player as "designated for return" at the time of his placement on IR.
Since the new rule was adopted after the initial cutdown to 75 players, there will also be a transition period, this season only, for players who have already been placed on IR by their teams if they believe he can return this year.
Teams can move one player already on IR since the start of training camp to the 53-man roster by Friday. The new IR rules can then applied to that player.
Owners had approved the rule changes back in May, but the union also had to agree before implementation.