The New England Patriots weren’t shy about how much they liked and wanted to see out of running back Tyler Gaffney this offseason.
The third-year pro, who spent his first two NFL seasons on injured reserve, carried the ball 35 times for 152 yards with one touchdown this preseason.
Gaffney hurt his foot in the third quarter of the Patriots’ final preseason game, however, and was waived/injured Saturday as New England trimmed its roster to 53 players.
Cornerback Darryl Roberts, who was locked in a roster battle with rookies Cre’Von LeBlanc and Jonathan Jones (Jones won out) also was waived/injured Saturday.
What this means is if/when Gaffney and Roberts pass through waivers Sunday at noon, they would revert to the Patriots’ injured reserve list. The Patriots can choose to keep them on injured reserve throughout the season or …
— A player and team can agree to a release with an injury settlement. In this instance, the team agrees to pay the player for a determined length of time until he’s expected to recover from the injury. The player is released immediately upon being waived with the injury settlement and can be claimed or sign with a new team at any time, though he cannot “double dip” by being paid by both teams. The Patriots would be able to re-sign Gaffney or Roberts under this circumstance, but they would be forced to wait until three weeks after the agreed settlement is over, per NFL rules. So, for example, if Gaffney and the Patriots agree to a four-week settlement, the Patriots couldn’t sign him for seven weeks.
— The Patriots also could waive Gaffney or Roberts from injured reserve once they’re healthy and healed. The players would be subject to waivers, but if they cleared, they could be signed to the Patriots’ active roster or practice squad.
So, while Gaffney and Roberts are headed for injured reserve if they clear waivers, that doesn’t necessarily mean their seasons are over. Gaffney spent his first two seasons on injured reserve, and Roberts spent his rookie season in 2015 on injured reserve, so it’s unlikely they’ll want to spent another year on the list if their injuries aren’t season-ending.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images