Last week, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) circulated an email to all NFLPA-licensed contract advisors advising them of its policy for allowing signed players to work out for interested NFL teams.
The short version is that the AAF will require NFL teams to make formal requests before a player is allowed to work out for them, and agents will not be allowed to facilitate the transaction. It’s a policy that could get a little cumbersome this season.
I found out about it when an agent forwarded it to me. His initial reaction was one of concern. How could he in good conscience recommend one of his players cut by an NFL team this weekend take an AAF offer if it might jeopardize future NFL opportunities?
I was curious if other agents felt the same way, so I reached out to several of them, asking this question:
What are your thoughts on the AAF email last week detailing the procedure for allowing AAF signees to try out with NFL teams? NFL teams will have to formally ask permission, and the agent is not in the loop. Will that give you second thoughts about having your NFL cuts sign AAF deals this fall?
The answers were all over the map.
- “I will do what’s in client’s best interest. If I feel he can still catch on in the NFL, I may hold out because of that process. Keeping agents out of the loop is not a good idea. I would be working the NFL side of things to get them to request in most cases anyway. Leagues like the AAF need to have success before making demands, in my opinion.”
- “It’s definitely something to keep an eye on. I wonder if it’s meant to limit agents constantly bugging NFL teams about getting their guys a workout, and the agent getting too involved in the process. In all reality though, I think a good agent at this point will know what player realistically will get on a (practice squad) at some point and which ones should go to AAF immediately. . . I’ve got a few guys that I’d send to the CFL or AAF, but there are a lot more that I can say with confidence will get a practice squad shot at some point. I think AAF is kind of confusing at this time. They shouldn’t be this vague about rules when players are trying to make decisions. Not a good look.”
- “(Our client) signed with the AAF and we were able to get out of it no problem with (an NFL team). (The NFL team was) a little hesitant about it, but we got it squared away pretty easily. . . I’ve been really impressed so far and they’ve hired amazing staffs.”
- “I always want to create opportunities for players, but the AAF should have a provision in contract that the agent may create NFL opportunities and tryouts without AAF permission. But it is hard when players want to play and create more film for NFL teams.”
- “Probably not because the guys that are not currently in the league are jazzed about the new league and think it’s their shot at getting noticed. If (an AAF team is) offering a deal, they’re going to want to do it. Just another way they kneecap us agents but not sure keeping our guys from playing in a new league is the best option or that they would even listen to us on that. Probably the lesser of two evils.”
- “Will still push for them to sign. We will work through those hiccups, but very disappointing, but not surprising. I wish they would bring back NFL Europe.”
- “Not even a second thought. I have one player who was signed to the AAF, we did the consent form, he worked out for (an NFL team) and made the roster last week. The league office for the AAF was perfect to deal with in the process, and I know if for whatever reason he does not stay, he’ll have a job back in the AAF with his same team. Still a win-win for the client and that’s the important part. . . If I hadn’t gone through the process yet, I may have reservations, but the AAF has it together in the front office and I’ve enjoyed working with them.”
- “I think my players that get cut will be claimed or (practice squad) but if for some reason that doesn’t happen, I will address it at that time. That rule does seem dumb — I like the idea of it (because) no one was sure if you could work out, so I know some players would probably wait until late to make that move, but to make the NFL team have to go out of their way, I don’t know . . . It should just be proof of workout from agent or airfare gets you approval.”
- “Well, anyone in the NFL right now would be a fool to sign AAF prior to the end of the NFL season, no matter what. Anyone that has no NFL option might as well sign, because odds are no one is calling, so honestly, it probably isn’t going to be much of a problem because of the timing. As long as agents are smart, AAF will just continue to improve signed talent as Jan/Feb gets closer and guys that played this preseason, who don’t resign, end up committing. There are a bunch of AAF guys under contract right now that will never see that league.”