As I explained when I broke down the concept of the NFL’s injured reserve list on Friday, each of the league’s 32 clubs is allowed to designate one IR player to return each season. These players are eligible to begin practicing six weeks after they land on injured reserve and can return to game action eight weeks after their IR designation.
Since teams can only use the designation once per season, some strategy can be required in deciding which player to put on IR-DTR. If a rarely-used player at the back of the roster suffers an injury with a projected recovery time of six to eight weeks, a team could elect to place him on IR-DTR, or simply cut him with an injury settlement and save the single designation in case a more notable player on the roster sustains an injury with a similar timetable.
Of course, while some teams have multiple candidates for the IR-DTR slot, and may be forced to keep an injured player or two on their active rosters, other clubs have yet to have even one player become a strong candidate for that designation to return. After the Patriots placed Sealver Siliga on IR with the designation to return today, there are just a dozen teams who have yet to take advantage of that spot on the reserve list.
With 13 weeks still remaining in the regular season after this weekend’s games, that designation to return could still come in handy for players who suffer injuries but might be healthy in time to contribute in December and January. So it’s worth keeping an eye on these 12 clubs, who have yet to use their IR-DTR spots, to see if they come in handy in the near future.
The following teams have yet to place a player on injured reserve with the designation to return:
- Arizona Cardinals
- Atlanta Falcons
- Baltimore Ravens
- Buffalo Bills
- Cleveland Browns
- Denver Broncos
- Houston Texans
- Miami Dolphins
- Minnesota Vikings
- New York Jets
- Oakland Raiders
- Tennessee Titans
To see how the NFL’s other 20 teams have used their IR-DTR spots, be sure to check out our complete list.