Re: Article on Zone Coverages Good question, because other than missing playing time incentives, the player gets paid the same amount - and therefore doesn't really have much to complain about. Similarly, the salary still counts against the salary cap, so the team does not achieve any obvious competitive advantage. Once on IR the player is not supposed to be able to practice with the team, so that works against his skills appreciably improving in his year on IR. That drawback is the biggest detriment to red-shirting a player and stashing him away on IR for a season. The club and the player would be better off keeping him on the 53-man roster and just making him a game-day inactive every week. Teams have a great deal of leeway in regards to placing a player on injured reserve. The only criteria is that when the injury is significant enough to keep him out of one or more games, the team has the option of placing him on injured reserve. The new injured reserve with designation to return rule has a somewhat circular definition which allows for plenty of latitude in interpretation as well.: the amount of time the player has to sit out to comply with the rule is also the definition of that type of injury. NFL Players Association | Collective Bargaining Agreement | Article 20, Roster Exemptions A “major injury” is defined as an injury that renders the player unable to practice or play football for at least six weeks (42 calendar days) from the date of injury. Ironic that full-season IR is defined as the player needing to miss only a minimum of one game, whereas the short term IR is defined as the player needing to miss six weeks.