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Explaining The NFL Waived Injured Process


I was asked via email to explain the process of waiving a player injured after cornerback Terry Carter was waived/injured on Friday.

First off, prior to the start of the season, a player can\'t be placed on injured reserve without being waived injured first. Waiving the player injured exposes him to waiver process, but let\'s other teams know that the player is not healthy.

If a player clears waivers, the team has the option of placing the player on their injured reserve list, which would retain their rights to him, or they can reach an injury settlement with the player. That injury settlement is usually based on the amount of time that the player is expected to take to recover from his injury. Whatever that time frame is, a player might not be able to sign with another team until that date passes. It all depends on the agreement, according to one agent I talked to.

It is quite common for undrafted free agent players to be waived injured and given a settlement if the injury is not considered long-term like an ACL. Each case is unique though.

Last year when Baron Batch tore his ACL prior to the first preseason game, the Steelers had to wait until the final cut down date to place him on injured reserve, unless they wanted to expose him to waivers by waiving him injured.

A recent waived injured transaction gone bad happened not too long ago as the New York Giants tried to get tight end Jake Ballard to injured reserve early by waiving him inured with a torn ACL. The Giants did not want to have to use one of their spots on the 90 man roster for Ballard, who they knew was going to miss the season.

They received a surprise, however, when the New England Patriots claimed the injured Ballard off waivers. The Patriots will ultimately place Ballard on their own injured reserve list, but will let him ride on the PUP until injured reserve is open.

Dirty pool? Perhaps, but the Patriots didn\'t break any rules. The Giants learned a valuable lesson that the gentleman\'s code no longer exist in the NFL.

So what does this all mean for Carter? My co-host David Todd talked to him Friday and he was headed back to Louisiana. Carter will get an injury settlement from the Steelers and will not be placed on injured reserve. Once healthy, he will be allowed to sign with another team, but with training camps now in full gear, the best he can hope for is a practice squad spot later on in the year somewhere. Who knows, maybe he makes back to Pittsburgh at some point as he seemed to turn a few heads during the offseason.

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