Less than eight months before the scheduled start of its new pro football league kicks off, the Alliance of American Football has rolled out details about player allocation, combine and a draft as well as salary expectations.
League co-founder Bill Polian, an ESPN NFL analyst, said the league will give players three-year non-guaranteed contracts worth $250,000 each.
Players can leave the league, which is set to kickoff on Feb. 9, to go to the NFL, but Polian said it’s currently unclear whether a players rights will revert back to the league after a three-year period expires or if the clock stops ticking on a team’s three-year rights when a player gets “called up” to the big time.
Salaries will be in line with AAF competitor the XFL which has said it will pay players an average of $75,000 a season. That league launches in 2020.
Polian said a contract will include state-of-the-industry health insurance and an education stipend to any player who completes a year in the league.
Players will be scouted from those that don’t make NFL and CFL teams. They will be allocated to rosters based primarily on where they played college if there is an AAF team within a reasonable radius. Next, players whose college team doesn’t quite make sense — which will especially be the case for players in the Big 10 and the Big 12 — will be allocated based on their most recent NFL or CFL team. Players whose college doesn’t have an AAF affiliation and who haven’t played in the NFL or CFL are eligible to be tendered a contract by any team.
“Each of our teams will have at least five colleges whose players become theirs, four designated NFL teams and a CFL team that is assigned,” Polian said.
Polian said that modeling suggested that this format would lead to a competitive league, taking into account that the Birmingham team, for example, wouldn’t be loaded with Alabama players because many of those players actually make the NFL. The one exception the league has made is for quarterbacks, where teams can only take one former college quarterback in their region.
Polian said the college model will have immediate business implications for the teams.
“If the Birmingham teams has Trent Richardson, we think that will be something that would be a significant gate attraction,” Polian said.
The league will hold three combines next month — in Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta. Players who want to try out will be charged $175.
The AAF has teams in Birmingham, Orlando, Atlanta, Memphis, San Diego, San Antonio, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. Coaches include Steve Spurrier, Brad Childress and Mike Singletary.