You’ve probably noticed that Chris Jones is quick to put players on the 6 game injury list. It’s always concerning to see people placed on the 6 game, particularly when the fans aren’t clear on what the injury was (i.e. Crapigna and Love today). But… Jones also pulls many of them of the 6 game IR early (i.e. Muamba, Holley, Rodgers and now Mrabure). While many of the things Jones has done in his tenure are sketchy/questionable at best, this is something that I actually think makes a ton of sense. Here’s why:
Quick rules summary: Players on the 1 game IR have their salary count against the cap but are allowed to practice. Players on the 6 game IR do not have their salary count against the cap but are not allowed to practice until 2 weeks before there are eligible to return. Players can be pulled from the 6 game early but then their salary counts towards the cap retroactively. Teams get 2 exceptions that allow them to pull people from the 6 game early and not have the salary count. Such players must have been on the 6 game for more than 6 games (i.e. players spends 6 games on the IR, and then is placed on the IR for 6 more games, they can be pulled after game 8 for example, penalty free).
So salary-wise, there is no difference between having a player on the 1 Game IR for 3 games or placing them on the 6 game IR and pulling them early. The only difference is that on the 6 game a player can’t practice (which is a non-issue if the player is legitimately hurt). So by placing a legitimately hurt player on the 6 game Jones is actually preparing for a worst case scenario. If all goes well and the player recovers quickly, they get pulled early. Salary-wise it’s as if they spent the time on the 1 game. No harm no foul. So you might ask why bother if there’s no difference?
Well, what if the injury is expected to take 2 weeks to heal but actually takes 6 or the player suffers a setback? If the player were on the 1 game, you would have to eat the salary. Under Jones’ set up, if the injury takes longer, he’s covered and the salary does not count to the cap. Salary-wise, it’s better to put them on the 6 game and pull early than it is to put them on the 1 game and find out later it’s a longer term injury. It makes a ton of sense and I think all coaches should do the same.
So our 1 game IR isn’t actually for injured people (I’m sure you’re all shocked). It’s for people we want to pay full salary and be able to practice but we can’t fit them on the roster (i.e. Zver, van Gylswyk). The 6 game (previously 9 game) used to be where you’d stash players but now with the rule tweak that they can’t practice (at least not when league officials are looking wink wink) it’s tough to develop players stashed there. That is why Zver, a player we want to develop, is not on the 6 game even though I doubt he plays this season. We need him to practice to develop.
So what may seem like roster shenanigans by Jones is actually just him maximizing the teams benefit from the existing rules (though I’m sure some shenanigans are mixed in there too).