NFL moves back trade deadline until after Week 9



ORLANDO, Fla. — NFL owners agreed Tuesday to move the trade deadline back one week to the Tuesday after Week 9 and authorized a significant expansion to the league’s replay assist program.

Three penalty categories — intentional grounding, roughing the passer and hits out of bounds — were added to the list of plays replay assist can advise officials on.

In addition, they also agreed to allow teams to use a practice squad player as their emergency No. 3 quarterback on game days, after requiring that player to be an existing member of the 53-man roster last season. The flurry of moves came on a day when they also approved a massive revamp of the kickoff.

The NFL will now allow replay officials to move into the area of penalty enforcement for the first time. They will not be allowed to initiate a formal review on intentional grounding, roughing the passer or hits out of bounds. Nor can they suggest a flag be thrown. But they will be authorized to suggest a real-time reversal of a penalty on “specific, objective aspects of a play when clear and obvious video evidence is present,” according to the rule. Previously, replay officials advised officials on calls such as catch/no-catch, possession and down by contact, advice that on-field referees can accept or reject.

Intentional grounding was a play that especially caught the committee’s attention after officials threw 62 flags for it in 2023, most in a season since at least 2000. But the replay assist expansion was also spurred by instances when, for example, a defender was called for roughing the passer because of a hit to the head when replays showed the contact was clearly below it. It’s a step toward creating the NFL’s own version of a “sky judge,” but one that gives the on-field referee the final word.

“[Intentional grounding] was a hard call,” competition committee chairman Rich McKay said. “This wasn’t our best call because there’s so many elements to it and it becomes a crew penalty. I mean literally you’ll always see the referee have to get in there. He’s going to bring a line judge going to bring a down judge, they’re going to talk about it. In this case we just like the person in the ear to be able to say, ‘Yes, he was in the pocket or he wasn’t.’ And then if he needs to help anything else, he helps him only where we said he could in the objective findings.

“But to us, this is where replay assist can go because there was the concept that [Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid] pushed for and we talked about years ago, which was this sky judge idea. We’ve always pushed back that the game has to be officiated on the field. It just has to be officiated on the field. There’s too much going on. But their concept and the idea that replay assist can play a part in getting calls right, we like, and this is just another step in that.”

In addition to the replay assist expansion, the trade deadline shift and the No. 3 quarterback tweak, NFL owners on Tuesday also approved a second consecutive preseason trial of providing the replay “Hawk-Eye” feed to be seen in coaches’ booths rather than just the broadcast video of a game. The program will expand into the regular season in 2025.

On Monday, owners had approved a prohibition on the swivel hip-drop tackling technique and allowed teams to gain a third challenge after one successful challenge during a game.



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