Do NFL Players On IR (Injured Reserve) Count Against the Salary Cap?

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(AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy May 09, 2023, 2:05 PM

Yes, NFL players on the injured reserve list (IR) count against the salary cap.

Once the season has started, any player on either the 53-man roster, injured reserve list, and even the practice squad counts against the salary cap. 

Players do typically get paid while on injured reserve, but depending on their contract details, they may not be paid their full non-guaranteed salary. Regardless of what is paid out, though, the full salary cap hit is accounted for on the team cap sheet, regardless of health status.

That’s why it’s so challenging for banged-up NFL teams to make in-season adjustments – a huge deal of their cap room is not producing.

Only players who have been placed on the commissioner’s exempt list do not count against a team’s salary cap. Such players cannot practice or attend games. 

Is There a Limit to the Number of Players On IR?

No, NFL teams are not limited by how many players they can place on the injured reserve list throughout a season. 

However, NFL teams are limited by how many players they can recall to the active roster from the IR list in a given year. Only eight players can be designated to return per season.

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.