Could new IR rule help with Matt Johnson decision?
According to reports, teams will have a one-player exception in which they can bring a player back from injured reserve during the season. In previous years, once a player was put on injured reserve his season was over.
So this brings us to safety Matt Johnson.
The Cowboys’ fourth-round pick took part in one minicamp practice with the full team because of league rules involving when a college finishes a semester. He missed almost all of training camp because of a hamstring injury suffered in that minicamp practice and aggravated it in late July on a conditioning test. He played only a few snaps against St. Louis before injuring his other hamstring and did not play Wednesday against Miami.
The Cowboys faced (or maybe still face) a difficult decision on Johnson because they hadn’t seen him play but like his potential. With only 53 roster spots, however, it’s difficult to have a redshirt season for him.
There is some question as to whether a hamstring injury could qualify a player for the IR exception, but we’ll go on the premise for now that it is. This rule could allow the Cowboys to keep Johnson on injured reserve, get him healthy and allow him to contribute on the field this year, mostly on special teams.
So as you put together your final 53-man projection, just keep in mind this new rule and how it pertains to Johnson.
UPDATE: The new IR rule will not have an immediate benefit for the Cowboys regarding Johnson. The rule affects players placed on IR only after Tuesday. The "major injury" designation is defined as a six-week injury. At the time the player is placed on IR he must be "designated for return," to be eligible to come back and the player must be on the injured reserve list for eight weeks from the date in which he is put on IR. So the Cowboys could keep Johnson for the final 53, then designate him as a candidate to return on Tuesday and hope the player they released would still be available. In other words, the new rule helps them a little bit but not as much as hoped.
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