The NFL owners met on Tuesday and voted to make some rule changes that could provide some intriguing changes to the 2012 season. The owners voted to move the trade deadline from week six to week eight, and they have created a new injured reserve designation that will allow one player from each team to come off the IR list during the season.
The trade deadline change could impact trades a little bit, but given NFL salary cap rules, it seems unlikely that we'll see significant increases in trades anytime soon. Moving the deadline to week eight does give teams a slightly better idea of where they stand, though, which could mean one or two more trades happening each year.
The significant change is in the injured reserve rules. Previously, any player placed on injured reserve was finished for the season and not allowed to be removed from the list during the regular season or playoffs. The new rule involves a designation of a "marquee" player.
When a player is placed on injured reserve, the team has the right to designate him as a marquee player that could come off before the end of the season. It can only be applied to one player per team and I have yet to see any specifics as to who can be a marquee player, or if anybody can be that marquee player. Said player can return to practice after week six and to the lineup after week eight. This would coincide roughly with when a player has to come off the PUP list or go on IR, which means teams now have two options for injured players that could potentially return during the middle of the season.