The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed to changes that would push the trade deadline back by two weeks and give teams a chance to designate one player on injured reserve who is eligible to return the same season.
Previously, all players placed on injured reserve could not play until the following season. The trade deadline will be moved from Tuesday, Oct. 16 (following Week 6 games) to Tuesday, Oct. 30 (following Week 8 games).
The injured-reserve rule permits teams to re-activate one player from IR during the season. That player must be designated as of Tuesday, and he can begin practicing after Week 6 of the regular season and resume playing after Week 8.
A special injured-reserve rule applies for the 2012 season because teams already have cut their rosters to 75 players. Any team that has placed any player on injured reserve and wants to designate that player for the new short-term IR must place him back on the active roster by Friday at 9 p.m. and then designate him after 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
NFL owners had agreed to these rules changes at their May meetings, but the union had not signed off on them until Thursday.
NFL: Dismiss concussion suits
The NFL moved to try to shut down lawsuits filed by thousands of former players who say they suffered or fear suffering permanent brain injuries from football-related concussions, calling the issue a "labor dispute" that should be resolved not by courts but by terms of the collective-bargaining agreement. In a motion to dismiss the suits filed late Thursday, the NFL argues that the collective-bargaining agreement covers safety and health rules.