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NFL Rule Changes Include Trade Deadline Extension, IR Exemption

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NFL owners are gathering in Atlanta this week to discuss a number of issues, including a handful of proposal rule changes. Among those changes is a proposal to extend the trade deadline from Week 6 to Week 8, allowing one player on IR to return later that season and making knee and thigh pads mandatory.

The votes are in and we have some results.

NFL owners voted to require the knee and thigh pads starting in 2013. The NFLPA could have something to say about that this down the road.

The trade deadline and IR rules also passed, according to the AP.

The owners also voted to move the training deadline from after Week 6 to after Week 8, and to allow one "marquee" player placed on injured reserve to return to practice after the sixth game and to the lineup after the eighth game. That player must be on the 53-man roster after the final preseason cut.

The extension of the trade deadline makes a lot of sense. Previously the deadline came in Week 6, which is too early for most teams to consider trading players. Moving it back, even by two weeks, gives teams a better chance of realizing where they stand that season and whether trading away a piece that could help them that season would be worth it.

The IR rule also makes a lot of sense because many players suffer injuries early on that will keep them out for most, but not all of the season. Teams had to decide whether to waste a roster spot on that player waiting for him to return or put him on IR and shut him down for the season. The IR rule gives teams another option if an important player goes down early in the season.

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