I have not heard this discussed anywhere else, but I am wondering today if it is time for the NFL to get rid of the whole 'Injured Reserve' system.
I got thinking about this the other day when the Giants placed Sam Madison IR and promoted cornberback Rashad Barksdale from the practice squad. In case you missed it, the Giants also released linebacker Edmund Miles and signed veteran Rich Scanlon to replace him.
The NFL season is a long one, and we know Commissioner Roger Goodell is pushing to make it even longer. Look at the Giants' playoff roster right now, and you know it is watered down from the team that started the season.
Football is a brutal game. Injuries happen, we know that. No team gets through the entire 16-game schedule without losing at least a handful of players. That's just how it is.
What I am wondering is if a change in the rules would actually help the quality of play as the season winds down.
Look at the Giants. Both Osi Umenyiora and David Tyree are on IR, and both are probably healthy enough to play right now. I know Umenyiora has recovered faster than anticipated from knee surgery and reports have said he could play if he wasn't on IR. Tyree was placed on IR because of a hamstring. Think the Giants would be a better team with Osi instead of, say, Jerome McDougle. Or Tyree instead of Mario Manningham?
I have to believe most NFL teams had a player or two on IR at the end of the season who was probably healthy enough to help them. The playoff teams right now would, I'm sure, love to be able to activate a player who has missed much of the season on IR.
What I'm thinking is that the NFL should do away with IR and use a baseball-style 'disabled list' or 'injured list.'
Tyree is a perfect example of a player who would have, at some point, been healthy enough to help the Giants. Yet, because of the rules the Giants had to place him on IR because they could not hold a roster spot.
Why not have injured list designations of, say four games, eight games and 12 games? A player on the injured list would not count against your 53-man roster, so you could replace him until he is ready to play.
I think this makes more sense than placing a guy on IR in training camp because you know he won't be ready until the last third of the season. After all, a guy like Umenyiora is still getting paid.
Instead of filling rosters at the end of the season with street free agents, you could fill slots with quality players who actually belong in the league.