Five Things to Do While You Wait for NFLPA Exam Results

If you took the NFL Agent Exam last month, you’re probably pretty antsy these days as you wait for your results to come in (they’re probably still about a month away). Actually, that’s not a terrible thing, though, because you have work to do before you get started. Here’s our advice on what to do and not to do over the next four weeks.

WHAT TO DO:

Develop a recruiting strategy: Most people who get certified either have a friend or family member they plan on representing, or at least have a school that will be their focus. Maybe Plan A will work, but it’s important to have a Plan B. If you roll with us at Inside the League, we will work extensively with you on what kind of player, position, school, etc., makes the most sense.

Set a budget: Because player representation is such a profession of passion, it’s easy to get carried away when the costs start adding up. Remember, it’s still a business. If you’re recruiting a player who has a chance to get drafted late or signed as a priority free agent, your budget should be about $10,000 per player. How does that money spend? Training, of course, but there are other factors, as well. We cover those things with you if you’re an ITL client.

Develop an NIL strategy: The NIL landscape is still pretty wild, but you are definitely going to answer questions on your plan, so you better have one. Here’s a great primer if you don’t know where to start. I’d recommend watching this, as well.

WHAT NOT TO DO: 

Network with scouts: Every year, I see new agents (and sometimes, agents whose certification is still pending) reaching out to NFL scouts on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., trying to make friends with them. I get it. It’s a relationship-based industry all the way, and that one point of contact may be what makes the difference for a client as the draft gets closer. However, what you have to understand is, scouts’ relationships with agents is based on one thing only: the quality of their clients. When you prove that you recruit legitimate prospects, scout will want to get to know you. You won’t have to reach out to them, because they’ll be reaching out to you.

Recruit big agencies to hire you: This one I understand, as well. Clearly, if you’re part of a big agency, you have a tremendous advantage over other contract advisors. Still, like scouts, bigger agents want you to prove yourself before they consider hiring you. I know you probably work very hard, and I know you’ve done a lot of homework and prepared yourself for this day for years. Well, that doesn’t do enough to separate you from the field. Just last month, I recommended a new agent to a big, established firm. The first question from my friend at the big firm was, who does he represent? If I would have said no one he would have felt insulted I even brought the young man’s name up. To be honest, I wouldn’t have recommended him, anyway.

One more recommendation: sign up for our newsletter. It comes out every Friday, and it’s widely read within the industry. Register for it here.

A Look at the XFL’s 2023 Salary and Compensation

Monday night, I hosted a Zoom session with XFL officials Russ Giglio and Doug Whaley. I hope you made it; we cast a pretty wide net and didn’t put any restrictions on who could join us. However, the summer’s a busy time, so I thought maybe a recap was in order.

Here’s a look at what Doug and Russ shared with the mostly agents and media members who participated in Monday’s call.

Pay/compensation: The XFL has a pretty nice compensation package for players who do nothing but attend camp, and for those who go beyond, there is a base $50,000 contract for players active for all 10 games (plus $1,000 per win “incentive”). Even for a team that goes winless, it’s a $5,000 bump over USFL salaries. Also worth noting: because the league begins play early in ’23, players with NFL offers will be able to make Phase 2 of NFL off-season programs. 

  • $800 per week for training camp (five weeks) 
  • $5,000 per game regular season active list (10 games)
  • $1,500 per week inactive list (10 games)
  • $1,000 per win (active and inactive list)
  • Playoff bonuses for winners and losers of playoff games
  • Significant championship bonus for both winning and losing teams
  • Players will be released following their team’s final game (late April or early May) if they receive an NFL offer.

Housing/meals: The league will house its players in hotels during the season and cover two meals per day (three meals per day during training camp). After figuring in insurance and other benefits, the league estimates that players get an extra $20,000, bringing the total package to about $70,000.

  • Three meals and a snack per day during training camp
  • Two meals and a snack per day during the regular season
  • Full health, dental and vision insurance included for players. Option to pay for family members to be covered.   
  • XFL has budgeted for approximately $20,000 per player in fringe benefits

Showcases/Player Evaluation/Drafts: The XFL will hold a draft In November, then supplement it with one or more subsequent drafts early in 2023. Important note: a player who attended one of the league’s showcases this summer is not necessarily entered into the player pool. Though all showcase attendees will be evaluated, only those who are tendered an offer to enter the player pool are given that opportunity (and they must accept the invitation; no one is automatically entered). It’s important to note that each team’s personnel director will attend NFL training camps in order to scoop up the best players who don’t make the cut in September. That’s a potential 600 players who are on 90-man rosters right now, but who could be in the player pool come October. Doug and Russ added that the player pool will be established well in advance of the draft; there will be no last-minute confusion on who can be drafted. 

  • Player draft pool invitations have been emailed to players on a rolling basis
  • DPPs will be visiting NFL training camps
  • Draft in November, supplemental drafts as more players become available (expiring contracts from other leagues)

Quarterbacks: League officials know the XFL will go as far as its passers do, so it’s making a commitment to its signal-callers, paying a selected few of them a little more than other position players and bringing them in earlier. Once in camp — all training will take place in Arlington, Texas — they’ll be instructed by elite QB trainer who will be announced at a later date. Recruiting is already under way. 

NFL Alumni Academy: The XFL has partnered with the Arlington, Tx -based NFL Alumni Academy, and will give XFL players-to-be a chance to hone their skills. Players who attend the Academy will be eligible to be picked up as injury replacements for the NFL, but if they do not, they will be offered the ability to opt into a XFL contracts. 

We’ll discuss the XFL and more in today’s Friday Wrap. Make sure to register for it here

 

Coming Monday: XFL’s Whaley, Ross and Giglio on Zoom

Doug Whaley has collaborated with me on several Inside the League projects over the years. The former Bills GM was among the panelists at our networking event at the 2019 NFL Combine, then joined us later that day for our annual seminar on behalf of the XFL, which would launch the following spring. That evening, he met with hundreds of NFL agents to introduce the new league and how it would operate.

Since then, Doug has joined me for a podcast on the 2017 NFL Draft and several Zoom interviews with active NFL scouts, executives, and current and prospective NFL agents. I can’t recall him ever saying “no,” so when he asked if Inside the League would host a Zoom session on Monday, July 25, at 8 p.m. ET, he already knew the answer would be “yes.”

Monday night, I’ll host as Doug, along with XFL executives Marc Ross and Russ Giglio, discusses the “business side” of the league, which returns this spring. If you’re a prospective XFL player or the agent of one, you’re going to want to check it out, and I hope you do.

Here’s what Doug, Marc and Russ will cover:

  • Player salaries — will there be win bonuses?
  • Do players at all positions get paid the same or do some positions rate higher pay?
  • How much room for negotiation is there on salaries?
  • How will injuries be handled? How will a player be replaced?
  • What about worker’s comp?
  • Will there be practice squads? How will they be paid?
  • What if a player gets an NFL offer? Will he be released? What if the CFL calls?

I’m sure, if there’s time, Doug will also field questions about where the league stands on the population of the player pool. These days, we get daily questions on how a player who didn’t attend any of the showcases or who has NFL experience can still be considered by the league.

It will be the second XFL Zoom in which ITL has played a part. In April, Doug was joined by several other XFL officials — including league co-owner Dwayne Johnson himself — as we held an initial meet-up with agents, marketers, scouts, coaches, and others interested in the returning league.

Unlike last time, there will be no restrictions on who we allow to join us. But there’s one catch: the Zoom link will be in the Friday Wrap, which comes out at 7:30 p.m. So if you’re interested in the finer details of the new league, make sure you are currently registered for our weekly email. If you aren’t already, you can do that here. Just make sure you do it by this evening.

I hope to see you Monday night. Remember: 8 p.m. ET, and we’ll go about an hour, with Doug and the XFL team leading things off, followed by questions. If you’re part of the pro football business community, I hope you’ll join us.

Best Tips on Passing the 2022 NFL Agent Exam

This is the last weekend before the 2022 NFL Agent Exam, which means it’s go time for everyone hoping to become NFLPA-licensed this fall. At ITL, for the past week, we’ve been frantically filling orders on our practice exams, study guide and videos. Still, just having the right tools isn’t enough. Encouragement and counsel on how to pass matter, too.

We try to accomplish that every year with the ITL Rising Contract Advisor Newsletter, in which we interview members of the most recent agent class who got players on 90-man rosters. We find it’s a good way to remind test-takers that their mission isn’t impossible.

Here’s a distillation of some of the best tips we’ve gotten from agents we’ve worked with over the past decade. If you’re taking the test Wednesday, we hope you’ll find some useful morsels of wisdom:

  • “I remember that there was a question about if there is a playoff bye, do you get a playoff bonus? The guy at the lecture said twice it wouldn’t be on the test, but it was. I don’t think he was doing that intentionally, but it did end up being on the test. So be thorough, and get your questions answered (during the pre-exam seminars).” — Aston Wilson, Agency1 Sports Group, Class of 2012
  • “The most difficult part of the exam is not the different concepts. It is knowing how to find the information.” — Nathan Shackelford, Higher Calling Sports, Class of 2019
  • “The way it was structured, you had to know what they were talking about or it would lead you to the wrong answer.” — John Thornton, Roc Nation Sports, Class of 2013
  • “If you go in there well-prepared, I think you can take it and pass.” — Tory Dandy, CAA, Class of 2013
  • “The way I did it, every sub-section of the exam, I created a binder for that section. It’s not about what you know, but how fast you can get to the material. If you didn’t print it out and have it organized, you’re not gonna get it.” — Ty Tascioglu, Sports Planning, Inc., Class of 2021
  • “The way they presented the material, you really had to study the CBA and all the material, from beginning to end, because the test had a lot of things on there.” — Malki Kawa, First-Round Management, Class of 2014
  • “My advice is to go into the exam with the mindset that they are trying to trip you up with the way the exam is worded.” — A.J. Vayner, VaynerSports, Class of 2018
  • “Every slide at the seminar I wrote down. My hand was so cramped when it was done, but I’m one of those guys, when I write something down, I memorize it. And since it was an open-book test, it really helped me to go back to some of the stuff I might not have remembered during the test.” — Murphy McGuire, Octagon Football, Class of 2015
  • “I went through flash cards and I had the CBA color-coded.” — Christian Kranz, Generation Sports Group, Class of 2015
  • “I probably interacted with 50 guys, and I’d say 35 didn’t come prepared whatsoever.” — Josh Grady, Grady Sports, Class of 2016
  • “By all means, use the ITL practice exam. The questions and how they were worded are very similar to the actual exam.” — Logan Brown, Logan Brown Sports, Class of 2016

Still need an extra boost to pass the exam? We have a study guide, practice exams, six instructional videos and even agents on call, ready to provide one-on-one help for reasonable prices. Don’t wait. Hit us up here or on our Twitter, where DMs are always open.

The NIL Conundrum: Three Popular Questions

This week, we continue our conversation with Vantage Management Group’s Sammy Spina, who has a unique perspective on name, image and likeness due to his extensive work in the space. He also heads a popular sports management course called Breaking Into Sports that has helped many young people get a foothold in the industry. I asked him the answers to three questions I get most often from agents on how to achieve NIL success, and here are his responses.

What’s the best mix between “self-generated” income (apparel and branded merchandise) and sponsored income (appearances, endorsements and social media)? 

I will use the famous lawyer answer here: “it depends.” Social media following is probably the main driving force behind self-generated income, but not every athlete will have the requisite number of followers to really build a strong presence. My goal has always been to generate the most money and/or best-case scenario for my clients without causing them to do too much work. Obviously, his school and his sport come first; NIL is a byproduct of that success. As a result, I would say most of my athlete NIL deals have come from sponsored income, and I have done very little “self-generated income” for my clients because it typically takes more time, effort, and energy.

One thing to keep in mind with self-generated income is that everyone wants to start their own clothing line! If that’s your goal, make sure you do something different that does more than simply having your client’s name on a T-shirt. Create a story, vision, movement, or charitable donation to help drive more customers for recurring revenue. No “story” usually means no legitimate self-generated income. There has to be something that separates your client from all the other student-athletes out there.

What’s the minimum number of social media followers one needs to make money in NIL? And does it matter which platform? 

Instagram and TikTok are the two driving forces behind most social media influencers, probably because they’re visual platforms. I wouldn’t say there is a minimum number of followers, because I have been able to secure paid social media and personal appearance deals for clients who have fewer than 2,000 followers; despite their limited followings, respectively, each was were paid more than $1,000 per opportunity.  Of course, it certainly helps when you have a strong following and, even more importantly, strong engagement! Remember, the most important factor is showing companies why such an appearance makes sense! What is unique about this deal that will generate headlines for the company and for the athlete?

I have seen a shift to LinkedIn as well, which also helps your athlete clients showcase their unique partnerships to business professionals in industries across the world. However, LinkedIn is still in its growing phase, so it’s easier to use other platforms (like TikTok) to gain exposure on posts that align with your audiences’ interests.

How much of NIL income is totally dependent on a player’s school? Geographic location? Position he plays?

A lot of it. It has been a lot more difficult to generate significant dollars and deals in smaller towns – such as Stillwater, OK where the majority of businesses are family-owned – than, say, in a larger city like Pittsburgh. Don’t get me wrong: fans and business owners will always want to support their college athletes. However, not every school is equal in that regard.

Quarterbacks will almost always make the most money. That is a given. However, there are opportunities for everyone. You have to get creative and you have to work! For example, I took an offensive lineman with fewer than 5,000 Instagram followers and got him paid appearances (without signing autographs), a custom suit deal, a restaurant deal, a meal prep company endorsement and other deals. I even got him an appearance as an ambassador for a cruise ship. I give this example to showcase the importance of relationships, how to be creative and how to show the value and impact your client will bring to the company.

 

Ask the Scout: Highlights of our Zoom with Rick Spielman

Thursday night, former Vikings and Dolphins GM Rick Spielman graciously agreed to join me for a one-hour Zoom session. Joined by about 40 NFL scouts and executives, we took a deep dive into team-building and player evaluation as I asked him 10 questions about the game. We opened it up only to NFL personnel eager to develop professionally and willing to give up an evening during their vacation to do it.

It was a riveting hour and he had some very interesting things to say. Here are four takeaways you might find helpful if your aim is to be an NFL scout someday.

  • Regarding analytics, Rick gave a lengthy, nuanced answer. One thing I found interesting is that the team was able to find some metrics for players who continually failed (i.e., defensive linemen without a minimum arm length, height and 40 time). They were able to rule them out as draftees. The other area they found analytics helpful was in sorting through the hundreds of players in the late Day 3/UDFA range. Again, the analytics team was able to find players with certain height/weight/speed combinations who had a better chance of success than others. He gave and return specialists Marcus Sherels, whom the team picked up as a UDFA in 2010, and WO Adam Thielen, whom the team signed out of Mankato State in 2013, as examples of players the analytics squad helped identify as possible success stories.
  • When asked how a young scout can get past the party line when trying to get sensitive information from a school’s NFL liaison, Rick didn’t sugarcoat things: it only comes with relationships and years of building trust. That’s a problem today with NFL teams hiring younger and younger scouts and sending them out on the road with very limited networks and contacts. It’s inevitable that these less-seasoned evaluators get fewer details until they become more familiar around the campuses they cover.
  • When asked about the worst thing you can do in an interview for an NFL job, he said that failing to do research was the easy answer. He gave as examples any correspondence that asked for a job from “Chris” Spielman, his brother (a former Lions player and current team executive). However, it was more about how much homework a job applicant had done. One dead giveaway: if Rick concluded the interview and asked for questions, but the interviewee had none, that was a dead giveaway that the applicant wasn’t prepared, and wouldn’t be hired.
  • He expressed concern about how elite prospects might approach pro days and the combine in the wake of David Ojabo’s injury at Michigan’s pro day last spring. He said the league has been focused on the player experience, especially at the combine, and could even see the league providing incentives to work out or making the combine less of a pure workout and more of a competition, though he didn’t expand on how that might be accomplished. Food for thought.

We’ll be talking plenty about the scouting industry, as we do every week, in tomorrow’s Friday Wrap. You can register for it here.

Ask the Agent: Where Do You Start with NIL?

Vantage Management Group’s Sammy Spina got certified as an NFLPA contract advisor in 2017, but he wasn’t your typical aspiring sports professional. As told in the interview I did with him in June 2018 for the Rising Contract Advisors Newsletter, the story of his success includes total resolve and iron will. Hear it in his own words at this link (I highly recommend it). His background also includes a deep well of experience in sports marketing, so when the NIL era kicked off about a year ago, it was a natural fit for him.

Sam has since begun working with young people who aim to follow in his footsteps — more on that in the coming weeks — and he’s got a lot to say about how he’s supplemented his traditional NFL agent work with his endorsement and marketing talents. This week, I asked him to help out by providing a few words of wisdom for agents young and old who want to take advantage of the new name, image and likeness rules. I expected 500 words, but he gave me almost 1,500.

One of the questions I asked him was this: The most common question I get from agents is, where do I start? What would you tell them?

Here’s how he responded:

Start with relationships. The common misconception is that NIL is brand new. That’s false! NIL is simply a way to phrase “athlete marketing” as it relates to college athletes in the NCAA who have eligibility remaining. I have had success in this realm because I have a marketing background and lean heavily on those relationships and approaches to put my clients in the best opportunity for success.

If I had to provide a step-by-step guideline as to “how to start” – I suggest the following:

  • Look: Find student-athletes that you have relationships with and offer to help with finding endorsement opportunities.
  • Be transparent: Report and acknowledge this new working relationship to the school’s compliance department. Seek the school’s guidance on next steps.
  • Set reasonable expectations for your clients!: We all read headlines and believe that all college athletes are making millions of dollars. Well, the student-athletes see these same headlines. Thus, make sure you set reasonable expectations for your clients and explain how, according to your research, not many athletes actually make large sums of money. The majority of deals are product exchanges for social media or small payments for services.
  • Understand your client: Remind yourself that not every athlete is marketable. There are several factors to marketability, but in essence, it comes down to supply, demand, return on investment, and how much of an impact you can make to increase the local and national exposure for a company.
  • Is it the right deal?: Additionally, you must always ask yourself: what does this deal do for my client? Does it help? If so, in what ways? What are some negative implications that could occur if we enter into this deal?
  • Get creative!: Think outside of the box. One of my favorite deals is the one we did for Kenny Pickett when he was at the University of Pittsburgh last year, partnering him with a fancy restaurant in Pittsburgh to treat his offensive linemen to weekly dinners. The partnership received national attention because it was innovative and different. It was Kenny using NIL to help his teammates before helping himself.
  • Develop business: Don’t be afraid to cold-call and cold email once you have a unique idea. Show companies that you have something so unique that it is bound to help generate exposure for their brand. Since most college athletes don’t have a million Instagram followers, you need to rely on media exposure to increase the company’s visibility. Once you do one or two, then you have a proof of concept to take to other companies.
  • Think before signing: Make sure the deals make sense for your client. Don’t just accept something to say you did it! Make sure that it is beneficial for your client. You cannot be afraid to say the word, “no.”
  • Do your research!: Know the community, know the fanbase, meet the collective. What does the fanbase enjoy? What are some major sponsors in the area for local events, team functions, etc.? Who are notable alumni that own companies and may want to help out? Utilize the knowledge that you generate to create a best-case-scenario for your clients.

This is just a taste of the advice Sammy provided. He also touched on the balance between merchandising and endorsements, appearances and paid posts; the mistakes not to make; the minimum number of social media followers to make a client viable financially; how much school, geographic location and position play in NIL (and how to exploit each or work around them if your client’s situation is not favorable); and plenty more. If you enjoyed Peter Schoenthal’s excellent presentation on NIL a few weeks back, stay tuned in the coming weeks as we continue giving Sammy the floor. Check out more of Sammy’s work here.

Also, as always, make sure you’re reading our newsletter, the Friday Wrap, which comes out later today. Register for it here

 

Ask the Scouts: Did the ’22 Draft Truly Have Day 3 Depth?

Scouts, agents, players and media have pointed to the 2022 NFL Draft to be special in a way that few have been, historically. The reason? Hundreds of players took advantage of their Covid year to skip the 2021 NFL Draft and enter the ’22 draft instead. Some scouts I’ve spoken to even feared that numerous players would slip through the cracks entirely due to the talent logjam.

So that’s the theory, but was it really true on draft weekend? I asked several NFL evaluators this week, and a couple were emphatic that the late talent pool was better than normal. “I would say that you had a bigger UDFA pool than you ever had, so it wouldn’t shock me if you see more UDFAs make teams this year,” said one scout. “You might have had 20 guys left on your draftable board in previous years. You probably had 30-35 guys left on your draftable board this year.” Said another, “Yes, heavier than normal talented player pool in 6th/7th and UDFA’s!, and a third added, “We signed a couple of guys that would have gotten drafted last year.”

However, others were just as adamant that it was a false narrative.

  • “I think the initial thought a lot of people had going into the year was the draft would be really strong because of all the players going back to school for an extra year, but in reality, most were late round-to-(free agent) players. . . I think it was a little stronger Day 3 compared to the year before, but not like I think a lot of people thought it would be initially.”
  • “I think the narrative was that, for sure, but once it came down to the end, it seemed like a regular amount of guys left after the draft. For sure, more names, but wouldn’t say more talent than years past.”
  • “Only time will tell, but no, I don’t think (that was) true. I thought the high picks, three-quarters of the first round was light, weak. QB, RB, TE and DL (were below standard). The second round thru the end of Round 4 was stronger. . . I did not think it was over-stocked. Here and there, a few players might have got pushed (down).

It’s one of those things we won’t know for sure for 3-4 years, but it’s interesting that there are mixed opinions on something that seemed so certain a year ago, when only 716 players signed with agents (about a third of the number who signed this year). 

We’ll talk more about scouting and player evaluation, including a roundup of the week’s hirings and firings, in this week’s Friday Wrap, which comes out (you guessed it) Friday. Go here to sign up if you don’t already receive it.  
 
  

Questions and Answers on XFL Player Acquisition

In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten plenty of questions on how to get players into the XFL. I found myself without many answers, so I deferred to Senior VP of Player Personnel Doug Whaley, who graciously agreed to answer some of the questions I’ve gotten.

Without further ado, here are the questions, with Doug’s answers following.

Are the Showcases the only way to the Player Draft Pool?

No. With the help of our scouting consultants, Inside the League and FBXChange, we are able to identify the top free agent players for inclusion into the Player Draft Pool.  XFL league and team personnel executives have been evaluating players for months via college/pro game video. Our personnel team will also attend NFL training camps to evaluate players who may be released in early September.  Furthermore, as is customary in football scouting, our personnel team monitors the waiver wire of other leagues as players are released. With all that being said, in-person evaluations at the Showcases remain a critical component of building a robust Player Draft Pool.

About how many players are in the Player Draft Pool so far?

The Player Draft Pool has been growing every day. As our personnel team identifies players who may have the potential to play in the XFL, we contact the players and/or their agents to extend an invitation (via email) for the players to opt-in for inclusion in the XFL Draft.  This is the first step towards building the draft pool. The players who opt-in must comply with a background check and requests for their medical history.

Will there be showcases beyond what has been announced so far?

We have not planned additional Showcases in 2022. However, we will allow our personnel staff and coaches to evaluate players in their cities of residence in accordance with league policies.

When is the XFL Draft?

November 2022.

When will the player pool be completed?

The Player Draft Pool will be completed a week before the Draft.  We are planning to hold a Supplemental Draft(s) as more players become available in December and January.

Do any players ever withdraw from the Showcases? Is “full” always final?

Players may sign up for the waitlist on showcases.xfl.com. If/when a player withdraws from a Showcase, the next player on the waitlist will be alerted that he is able to attend a Showcase.

My client has NFL experience and I believe he has a strong case for the XFL. Is there any means of submitting his info for expedited review outside of the Showcases and the info@xfl.comemail address?

Prospective players and their agents may submit information to FBO@xfl.com.  Information that has been submitted to info@xfl.com will continue to be forwarded to the Player Personnel department for review.

If my player played college ball in South Florida, will he still be considered by teams on the West Coast, for example? Does geography matter? If so, can an agent apply directly to teams that are geographically congruent with a player’s college team?

There are no territorial or college rights in the XFL. Agents may contact team personnel and coaches directly to discuss their players. 

What about players without agents? Are their only avenues the info email and the Showcases?

A player does not need an agent to play in the XFL. If he has performed well at the college and/or pro level, our personnel team will be able to find him. With that being said, the Showcases are another venue for our personnel team to discover talented football players.

Will player evaluation be centralized? How much latitude will each team Director of Player Personnel have?

The Head Coaches and Directors of Player Personnel will be making all roster decisions for their respective teams. The XFL league office receives player recommendations from team personnel, and we properly vet each player’s background to ensure his eligibility for inclusion in the Player Draft Pool.

If a player is in another league (CFL) during the initial XFL showcases, can he still be considered in XFL player pool if he is released from the CFL after the XFL showcases are completed?

Yes. As mentioned above, it is customary in football scouting to monitor other leagues’ waiver wires. The best available players will be engaged by XFL league and team personnel.

What is the plan for specialists? 

From the press releaseThe XFL announced it has partnered with Nick Novak, founder of Novak Kicking & Consulting and former professional football placekicker, to run a specialist showcase in San Diego, California on October 23, 2022. This event will focus specifically on kickers, punters and long snappers, and provide a dedicated forum for players to exhibit their skillset exclusively for the XFL’s player personnel departments.

A Preview of Thursday’s Podcast with SIS

Thursday, I’ll join my friend Matt Manocherian of Sports Information Systems on his excellent Off the Charts podcast. Matt’s a former NFL scout, which is one of the reasons I love chopping it up with his team. The topics we discuss are a little more “inside football” than your garden variety podcast.

If you’re reading this blog, that’s probably your bag, so I encourage you to look for it when it’s published Friday morning. Matt will publish the link on his Twitter page probably Thursday night.

Here’s a list of some of the thing we might discuss.

  • There are new GMs in New York, Minnesota, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas. Each has put his stamp on his new team in different ways. We’ll look at each, and what their hirings and firings mean about their team-building philosophies.
  • We almost saw Josh McCown go from the field to the head coach of the Texans this past offseason. You never see that in scouting, where things are much more ordered. For example, you’ll never, ever see an area scout jump straight to the GM seat. We’ll talk a little about the scouts who made it to the director and national levels this offseason and what it means for their respective futures.
  • On the other hand, the Giants have chosen (so far) not to name a Director of College Scouting. Why is this? Does this harm them?
  • The NFL’s new rule giving teams third-round picks for staffers of color who get hired as GMs has been a game-changer. I’m starting to hear of teams that are hoarding talented mid-level minority executives in hopes that they’ll land a future draft pick. I’ve even heard of a team blocking one such executive’s opportunity because he wasn’t leaving for a GM post. It’s an interesting and multi-layered topic.
  • Lots of teams have remodeled their front offices but haven’t made official announcements yet. Part of that can be chalked up to a desire to wait until after rookie mini-camps; most teams wait until the second weekend post-draft to have their draftees, UDFAs and tryout players in, and they want their scouts around until the players leave. Part of this is also because some teams write their scouts’ contracts to run from June 1 to May 31. But I think there’s more to it.

What am I missing? What are you curious about? I’d love to hear more ideas besides what Matt and I can come up with. Please tweet me if you have something else in mind.

As we’ve done all month, we’ll be running down all the moves and telling you what they mean in our Friday Wrap. If you’re not already registered for it, I highly recommend it. Register here.