NFL owners are gathering in Atlanta this week for their annual May meeting. Though there is plenty of drama engulfing the league at the moment -- from concussions lawsuits to bounty scandals -- the most notable item on the agenda for owners will be a handful of proposed rule changes.
Among the items up for a vote is an extension of the trade deadline, modification of the injured reserve listing and a proposal that would require all players to padding below the waist mandatory.
From a fan's perspective, the most exciting potential change is moving the NFL trade deadline back two weeks to Week 8. In past years, the early deadline has made professional football's in-season hot stove little more than an flareup. Under the new rule, teams would have more time to assess their needs or respond to major injuries.
Another change that could make a notable difference on the field is a change to the injured reserve rule that would allow teams to bring back one designated player prior to the end of the season. In the past, players placed on IR were out for the year, regardless of whether or not they could return during the regular season or for the playoffs. Teams could use this rule to have a key player back in time to make a final push for the postseason.
Owners are also expected to vote on a proposal, according to NFL.com, that would make hip, knee and thigh pads mandatory for all players. If that proposal passes, owners will again vote on it to make it official for the 2013 season at a future meeting.
Most of those rules are expected to pass muster with owners, who tabled them for further study prior to the draft.
Pulled from the agenda is a rule change that would allow teams an extra roster spot for players diagnosed with a concussion. Per the same report from NFL.com, one league general manager cited concerns about teams abusing that rule to carry extra players depending on the week-to-week matchups. Owners will likely vote on it again in the future.
For updates on the rule changes, stay tuned to this StoryStream.