Rams' Pead clears waivers, placed on injured reserve

Howard Balzer explains the Rams' thought process behind putting injured running back Isaiah Pead on waivers.

Isaiah Pead tore his ACL in Saturday's game against the Packers and will miss the entire 2014 season. 

Jeff Curry / USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS -- When the Rams waived Isaiah Pead on Wednesday after the running back suffered a torn ACL in Saturday's preseason game against the Packers, it wasn't necessarily a decision to remove him from the club. And as it turned out, Pead cleared waivers Thursday afternoon and was placed on injured reserve.

Here's how the procedures work:

Because NFL teams are not permitted to release players who are injured (unless there is an injury settlement), they are placed on injured reserve once they clear waivers. The team remains responsible for their salary, medical care and rehab. It is rare that teams claim injured players off waivers, but it has happened twice this summer. New England claimed wide receiver Tyler Gaffney from Carolina, and Cleveland claimed tackle Michael Bowie from Seattle.

Injured players who aren't vested veterans are often waived in training camp because that enables the team to sign another player to replace him on the roster. Vested veterans can be placed on injured reserve and don't count against the roster limit.

In Pead's situation, there was no urgency for the Rams to make the move they did because rosters will be cut from 90 to 75 by Tuesday, and once mandatory cutdowns arrive, any player can go directly to injured reserve and not count against the roster limit. So far, the Rams haven't added another player, and it is unlikely they would do so with a game Saturday and the cutdown in five days.

An injury settlement could be reached between the Rams and Pead, but he would then be responsible for his own rehab needs. It's rare that injury settlements occur in instances involving serious, season-ending injuries.

It's possible the Rams waived Pead simply to see if another team might claim him for the future, which would have removed his $757,100 salary from the books for 2014. His salary in 2015, the final year of his rookie contract, is $940,650.

Howard Balzer can be heard daily on H & Friends from 9-11 a.m. on FoxSportsRadio 1490.

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