While putting together their 53-man rosters, a lot of Redskins fans want to put Roy Helu Jr. or Tim Hightower or another player on the PUP list. This lets them keep Alfred Morris or their other favorite prospect on the 53 while stashing the veteran player for later in the season.
But there is one problem with this plan. You can’t put a player on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list at this point in the season.
There is one opportunity to put a player on PUP and that is at the start of training camp. If an injury keeps a player from practicing he can be put on PUP. Once a player steps onto the practice field he can’t be placed on the PUP list.
So the only Redskins player who can begin the season on the PUP list is the one who already is there, Jammal Brown. If the Redskins decide to leave him on that list when they cut to 53 a week from tomorrow Brown will remain there for at least six weeks. The team will then have a three-week window during which they can activate him. If they don’t, he goes on to season-ending injured reserve.
For players like Helu and Hightower, who practiced but are hobbling, there are three options next Friday. They can stay on the active roster, they can go to injured reserve or they can be released (an injury settlement could be required).
That’s it. The mechanism offered for players with short-term injury issues is the game-day inactive list. The injured player can stay inactive until he is ready to play.
Unfortunately, that does not allow the team to keep an extra, healthy player on the roster while the other one rehabs. It makes for some tough decisions but they are ones faced by almost every NFL team.