Important NFL PUP rules to know in regards to Jake Butt


Troy Renck reports that Jake Butt will start off on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list. Here are some important rules you need to know…

As we approach the start of Denver Broncos training camp 2017, one player of interest who is coming off of a major injury is rookie tight end Jake Butt. Butt tore his ACL in January during Michigan’s bowl game against Florida State, and he’s progressing quite well.

Troy Renck reports that Butt will start off on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list:

With Butt likely starting off on the PUP list, there are a few things we should all be ‘in the know’ about regarding that designation, and how the Broncos can proceed wisely and cautiously with their young tight end.

1. Active PUP vs. Reserve PUP

Butt — like almost any player going on the PUP league-wide to start training camp — is going to start off on the Active (pre-season) PUP list. This means that Butt is prohibited from practicing if the Broncos want to keep the option open for the Reserve (regular season) PUP at the conclusion of training camp.

During training camp and the pre-season, Butt would not be allowed to practice, even for a brief time if the Broncos give him this designation. If he practices at all, he is ineligible for the regular season PUP and would be required to be placed on injured reserve if he cannot play.

2. Roster spot

While Butt is on the active PUP list, he will count against the Broncos’ roster spot number, which isn’t a big deal because teams are allowed to keep 90 until final cut downs. Where it becomes a bigger deal is at the start of the season, when active PUP players count against the final 53.

If Butt is transitioned at some point to the reserve PUP, he would not count against the team’s 53-man roster number.

3. When can he come back?

If Butt is placed on the active PUP list, the Broncos don’t have to worry about making a decision on him until week one in September. They will continue to monitor his progress and determine whether or not he’s ready to come back for the season opener against Los Angeles, and there have been rumors he will be.

If the team chooses not to rush Butt back and/or he’s not cleared medically, they will likely put him on the reserve PUP list and have a window between the day after week six and the day after week 11 to bring him onto the active roster.

They have an additional three week window after they remove the player from the PUP list to determine whether or not they want that player on the 53-man roster, after which point they must decide whether or not they want him to go on injured reserve.

So, if Butt starts the season on the reserve PUP list, the earliest he can come back is week seven.

When Butt practices or comes off the PUP list, he cannot be put back on it.

What will the Broncos do?

The Broncos have some options at the tight end position this year, so I highly doubt they will rush the young rookie onto the practice field when they have these options. I don’t think they will put Butt on injured reserve, as I think the plan is to get him back on the field at some point in 2017.

A return for week seven sounds pretty reasonable for Butt, given he will be just 8.5 months removed from ACL surgery when the Broncos kick off the season on September 11th. Another seven weeks off would allow him at minimum a 10 month recovery period, and at that point he may even be at 100 percent health.

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With major knee injuries, you don’t want players to rush back if they are not 100 percent, obviously. Another tweak could be detrimental to them playing not only this season, but perhaps ever.

Butt has progressed very well from his ACL surgery, and is certainly chomping at the bit to get onto the football field again. The most optimistic outlook is that he’s ready for week one. If the Broncos decide he’s not medically ready for that, the soonest we will see him will be nearly halfway through the season.