Seemingly out of the blue, the NFLPA today agreed to an NFL proposal from May to extend the trade deadline by two weeks and to allow an injured reserve exception.
The official NFL trade deadline will be moved from the Tuesday following Week 6 to the Tuesday after Week 8. The IR exception will allow teams to bring back one player to the active roster from injured reserve during the regular season. Previously, any player placed on IR was automatically out for the season. Also, beginning in 2013, the three-day waiting period for a new player signing or reporting after training camp starts will be abolished and that player can practice immediately after passing his physical.
There is concern that an extended trade deadline would cause weaker teams to "give up" on the season early and begin trading some of their players for draft picks, but the new trade deadline could also mean more trade action, as contenders get ready for a final push. I like to think that the Cowboys will be one of the teams in contention after Week 8 this year, so they might be one pf the players looking for some help via late trades. At the same time, the last time the Cowboys engaged in a mid-season trade, they got stuck with Roy Williams. That move in turn resulted in the fiasco that turned out to be the 2009 draft, so the Cowboys should be extra careful about such a trade.
With the new IR rule, the Cowboys could bring one player back from IR during the season, which would possibly give them a little more roster flexibility. However, only players who are placed on the Reserve/Injured list after 4:00 p.m., New York time, next Tuesday, September 4, or anytime thereafter, are eligible to be reactivated at a later point in the season.
So for the roster cuts due on Friday, the IR exception won't free up an extra spot. Where the new rule could come in handy though is if the Cowboys sign a player to their 53-man roster after Tuesday. Then they could move one of their injured player (Jenkins, Witten, Ratliff, Wilberforce, Johnson etc.) to IR and bring him back later. But they can only bring back one player from IR during the season, so that one exception should be used wisely.