Major League Rugby’s first Signing Deadline is less than a week out. Whether it will matter is yet to be seen.
The point of the deadline is twofold:
- Prevents late signings/acquisitions that could significantly upgrade a team
- Prevents a team from signing non-league players to fulfill fixtures that have little consequence
However, if a team runs into significant injury issues, will the league prevent a team from signing free agents? The general sense is that they may.
The Dallas Jackals have struggled all year with injuries, including the freak stadium incident. The league surely doesn’t want to face an issue where a team like Dallas cannot fulfill a fixture. However, the transaction wire indicates Dallas is taking it seriously. Over the course of two days, Dallas was involved in deals with Atlanta and New England that brought in four players while sending out cap space and an international slot.
The question might be ‘what does the league consider a signing?’
No one expects that a team would be allowed to execute a major deal after the deadline. However, if a team were unable to otherwise fulfill the fixture, could a team sign a player from their selects program? What about from a high level club such as the American Raptors?
The question the league might not want to answer is ‘what would force such a deal to be required?’ No one goes through a full season of rugby without some knocks and bruises. Almost every player could find something that warrants a week off, especially for a team that’s locked its postseason berth and has nothing to play for.
By cutting off signings at the same time as trades, the league has attempted to solve two issues by potentially creating several more.