Understanding NFL Injury Settlements
With the 2015-16 NFL season rapidly approaching, and training camps winding down, roster sizes league-wide continue to dwindle. This week is huge for roster decisions, as each team’s roster must be down to 53 players by Saturday. Until then, there will be many negotiations between agents and team representatives trying to best ensure that their players have an opportunity to make the active roster, be placed on the practice squad or even on their emergency list. With many transactions taking place each day, one type of transaction often causes confusion – the injury settlement.
Per an article by Jack Bechta on NationalFootballPost.com, an injury settlement is “an agreement between players and teams that spells out compensation and other terms in which the two parties will
immediately part ways.” He continues to spell out what an injury settlement is with the following example: “If a player suffered a preseason injury such as a knee MCL partial tear, it usually takes about six weeks to heal and for the player to get back to full strength. If the player sustained the injury in the final week of the preseason (7 days prior to the 53 cut down date) and all parties agreed it would take six weeks for a full recovery, the parties may agree on a five week regular game settlement.” In layman’s terms, this means that the player would have likely missed five weeks of the regular season, so the team will pay him for those five weeks but still be released.
These settlements are used as an alternative to placing a player on the IR until he is healthy enough to be released. If a player decides against an injury settlement, the team is obligated to rehab and give him medical treatment. However, once the player is deemed 100% healthy by the team doctor, the team will release him. Injury grievances occur when a player believes he is still injured, even though the team doctor believes otherwise, or when a player gets a second opinion from another doctor who says his healing time is longer than previously thought. In this case, the player will likely try to get more money since his injury is thought to take longer to heal.
For more on injury settlements, read Jack Bechta’s article here.