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The league can change the rules, enforce more penalties, fine & suspend for dirty play, etc - but the fact of the matter is NFL players are still getting injured at a rapid pace.
A total of 217 players have been designated to the Reserve/Injured status (through Week 8). We'll show breakdowns for these players by Team & Position, then analyze the current contract situations now and going forward.
Reserve/Injured Totals by Team
The Buccaneers, Panthers, and Patriots lead the way with 10 players currently on IR, while the 2nd place Titans have just 2 players on the reserve list. The Patriots also have the most 2013 salary cap allocated to their IR at $23.24M, while the Kansas City Chiefs have just $1.683 million banked for 4 injured players.
The league may be doing it's best to reduce the risk of the passing game, but the injuries are still piling up. Wide Receivers nearly double every other position on the Reserve list, with Cornerbacks (17) & Safeties (15) both in the Top 5. Generally speaking though the injuries are, unfortunately, evenly distributed - proving that the game as a whole still lends itself to a high risk for long-term damage.
The following 65 players placed on the Reserve/Injured list are in the final year of their current contracts. The list includes 17 linebackers, 11 Wide Receivers, 7 Tight Ends, 5 Running Backs, 4 Cornerbacks, 4 Defensive Ends, 3 Defensive Linemen, 3 Offensive Guards, 3 Offensive Tackles, 3 Centers, 2 Fullbacks, 2 Safeties, and 1 Quarterback.
The following 83 players placed on the Reserve/Injured list signed multi-year contracts prior to the 2013 NFL season. The list includes 13 Wide Receivers, 11 Linebackers, 10 Offensive Tackles, 9 Defensive Ends, 7 Cornerbacks, 6 Safeties, 6 Defensive Linemen, 5 Guards, 4 Tight Ends, 4 Running Backs, 3 Quarterbacks, 3 Fullbacks, 1 Long Snapper, 1 Kicker