The NFL and NFLPA originally weren't able to come to an agreement on changing the date of the trade deadline and altering the injured reserve rules. However, an agreement was reached on Thursday. The changes were announced on Thursday afternoon, meaning it's now official that the trade deadline has been moved from Week 6 to Week 8 and teams can designate one player to return from injured reserve each season going forward.
The trade deadline change is pretty simple. The date of the deadline has been pushed back two weeks, meaning that teams now have extra time to decide if they need to make a move to acquire somebody or perhaps make a move to deal a player to another team.
The injured reserve change is a bit more complicated. Beginning at 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 4, teams can place one player on injured reserve with the designation that he will be reactivated later in the season. Only players with a "major injury" are eligible to receive this designation. According to the NFL, a "major injury" is one that prevents a player from practicing or playing for a minimum of six weeks. Players who receive this designation will be eligible to start practicing six weeks after going on IR, and they will be eligible to play in a game eight weeks later.
I'm really glad this change went into effect, as it allows for more roster flexibility when injuries happen. If somebody gets hurt in Week 1 of the season and expects to miss eight weeks, for example, the team wouldn't get to free up a roster spot to replace him in the past. Instead they'd be stuck wasting a spot on a player who isn't healthy if they wanted to keep him eligible later in the season. Now, with this new designation, that player could be designated to return, freeing up a roster spot while he's out.
In addition to the trade deadline and IR changes, the NFL also got rid of the rule that requires players to spend three days easing into things before being allowed to fully participate in practice. Instead, players can once again just practice right away, according to Albert Breer.