The NFL will implement a new variation of injured reserve this season, a temporary list specifically for players who test positive for COVID-19, according to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Placement on the list is immediate upon a positive test, and players are only able to be removed once they are medically cleared. Clubs can bring up practice squad players as replacements, and can return them to the practice squad without them hitting waivers.
Details are still emerging about the NFL/NFLPA deal: There’s a temporary IR for a COVID positive player & placement is immediate. His return is subject to medical clearance. A team may move up a P-squad player to replace him, then can return that player to the PS without waivers.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 26, 2020
The league just expanded practice squads to 16 total players on Saturday, which should provide the flexibility needed as team address the inevitable positive cases that will arise this season.
Rapoport added that the temporary IR is unlimited, meaning a club can give as many players the designation as is necessary.
While the league and NFLPA agreed to a revised CBA on Friday, the details of the agreement continue to be revealed. This COVID-19 IR news is the latest, but it likely will not be the last.
NFL Hosting Women’s Careers in Football Forum
The NFL is hosting its fifth annual Women’s Careers in Football Forum from Feb. 24-25, the league announced in a press release Tuesday.
The event will be held virtually and “connect 40 women, 75% of whom are women of color, with leaders in professional football to help those women network and build relationships in the areas of coaching, scouting and football operations.”
Those participating in the event will join panel discussions, breakout sessions and have networking opportunities with industry leaders, such as head coaches and team executives. All portions of the event are aimed at building connections that will result in hirings and subsequent representation.
Since its inception in 2017, the two-day event has assisted in developing “a more diverse talent pipeline by connecting high-potential women to career opportunities in football.” According to the league, 118 opportunities for women in football have been created as a result.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and wife Jane Skinner Goodell will speak, as well as NFL Chief Football Administrative Officer Dawn Aponte. In addition, three owners, seven head coaches and six general managers will also join the conversation.
Sarah Thomas made history earlier this month becoming the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. The champion Tamp Bay Buccaneers also had a record number of women on their coaching staff this past season.
Report: 2021 NFL Salary Cap Expected at $182-183 Million
The 2021 NFL salary cap is expected to be around $182 or $183 million, according to a report by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
That is just slightly above the bare-minimum figure of $180 million agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA last week, and aligns with Steelers Now sources that predict the cap will fall between $180 and $185 million.
The Steelers are one of several teams that will be significantly over the salary cap, regardless of what figure is.
According to Pro Football Talk, those teams have been lobbying to increase the 2021 salary cap at the expense of future years to minimize the impact the pandemic has had on NFL operations.
Doing so would essentially amount to an interest-free loan given by the owners to the players, something that some owners have balked at.
That final figure could still be impacted by the league signing new television contracts for the 2022 season before the salary cap is finalized, which is expected some time in March.
The new league year starts on March 17, which is the day that all teams must be under the new salary cap.
Will James Conner Ever Reach 1,000 Yards in a Season?
Some feel he doesn’t get the credit he deserves while others think James Conner is just simply not NFL featured back material.
Either way, it’s very possible Conner has played his final game as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He accumulated 721 yards on 169 carries for an average of 4.3 yards per carry and 6 touchdowns in 13 games during the 2020 season. Conner’s highest yardage total and best overall season came in 2018 when he compiled 973 yards off 215 carries, equaling 4.5 yards per. The Pitt product, who the Steelers kept in Pittsburgh by drafting in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, was selected to his only Pro Bowl for his surprise success in 2018.
Since 2018, it’s been a roller coaster ride of injuries and inconsistency for Conner. The 2018 season remains the only year Conner even flirted with the 1,000 yard mark. With his professional future currently in doubt, the question now becomes – will Conner ever accomplish an 1,000 yard season in the NFL, either with the Steelers or wherever he ends up?