As you might have seen, the Jets placed Brian Winters on injured reserve yesterday and signed defensive lineman Deon Simon from the practice squad to the active roster. This move probably will not have much of an impact in the Week 17 game the Jets will play against the Patriots on Sunday, but it does offer a slight boost to the team as it prepares for its offseason.
It isn’t uncommon to see a team place a player on IR like this in the last few weeks of the season. The move has one very tangible benefit. It opens a roster spot to sign a player off the practice squad.
Why does this matter? The practice squad dissipates once the season ends. The players on the practice squad become free agents and are can sign with any team. The players on the active 53 man roster do not become free agents, however. The team retains their rights heading into the offseason.
In practice, this is a minor benefit. Most practice squad players are simply camp fodder and will never amount to anything in the NFL. Most of a team’s practice squad players will probably re-sign with that team anyway.
The late season IR stash can take uncertainty out of the picture, however, for a player whose potential a team likes. The Jets now know they can bring Simon to training camp next year.