The NFL Owners are meeting this week in Atlanta to further discuss tabled items from their last meeting in March. Moving the Trade deadline from Week 6 to Week 8 is one of the issues on the agenda. Other issues in the discussion will be moving the Final Roster cuts up one day, an adjustment to the Injured Reserve rules and safety issues that include one roster exemption per week for a player with a concussion. It isn't clear if any of these items will be passed, but there will be dialogue.
The Trade deadline relocation to Week 8 makes sense. Teams will have a better idea of their playoff situation and it should open up the chance for more deals to occur. It wouldn't look like a George Steinbrenner hostile takeover, but it could have an effect on the NFL's precious parity. Player movement closer to the postseason could affect teams in the Wildcard chase as well as bolster up any depth discrepancies.
The final Roster cut date should pass anonymously. Opening day of the 2012 NFL season comes a day earlier this year, so cut day should reflect that, in fairness to the two teams playing in that Wednesday night contest.
The Injured Reserve issue being discussed is an exemption allowing a player to return during the same year after missing at least six weeks of team practice and 8 games. To clarify, this would mean that a player who was injured before Week 2 could be eligible to return from IR. The current rule states that a player can only come off Injured Reserve after Week 6 and only if he was placed on the list prior to the season opener.
A new wrinkle is an exemption for each team per week for a player with a concussion. Whether you believe the NFL is serious about player safety or think it is merely propaganda, this can only be a good thing in my opinion.
The owners have already agreed to make the use of hip, knee and thigh pads mandatory during games starting in 2013.
Of course, there will be plenty of conversation regarding the New Orleans Saints and Bountygate as well, but I don't think that will change anyone's mind. Jonathan Vilma can sue the league if he wants, they have plenty of capital.