Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

NFL Needs a D-League

A large section of the NFL workforce will lose their jobs in the next two weeks. Soon, there might be a better alternative for fringe players to keep alive their dream of playing pro football. Here's why a developmental league makes sense

By
Andrew Brandt
· More from Andrew·

At the same time that hope springs eternal across 32 NFL training camps, there are ubiquitous reminders of how cold a business the NFL is during these dog days of August. As one who has been an agent, team executive and now analyst, I have always found this time of year the most hopeful yet also the harshest. 

In one sense, this part of the calendar represents the best part of sports, a time when dreams of becoming NFL players come true. The reality, though, is that about 1,000 of the NFL players now populating practice fields and second halves of preseason games will be ex-NFL players in two weeks. Labor Day weekend always means a drastic reduction in the NFL labor force.

Let’s look at this faceless group presently making up about a third of NFL team rosters and suggest an alternate route—with an NFL stamp of approval—that has promise.

Who are these guys?

The building of a team’s roster begins with the start of the calendar year. Once the regular season ends in late December or early January, teams immediately start filling next season’s roster spots with “Reserve/Futures” consisting of (1) free agents who may have bounced around a couple teams yet are unsigned at season’s end, and (2) players who finished the season on the team’s practice squad (although a handful will choose to sign with a different team, seeing a better opportunity). Later in the spring, teams sign between 12 and 20 undrafted free agents who will try to beat the odds and make the team. This group of 20 to 30 players per team, virtually all of whom sign for non-guaranteed minimum salaries with little to no signing bonus, join holdovers from the lower part of the previous season’s roster to compete for precious few open spots.

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Perhaps it is the former agent in me, but I always felt for these guys. While the phrase “camp bodies” sounds harsh, it is a term used by scouts and coaches around the league. They do everything the team asks. They attend every lifting session, offseason workout, OTA, etc. They take every rep in practice and play in preseason games when asked, all to keep the “real players” as fresh as possible. Yet, in almost every case, they are called by a staff member during the week before Labor Day and told their services are no longer needed.

In most cases, I saw these groups of players move quietly around the team’s veterans, beaming when established stars talk to them. I once saw an undrafted offensive lineman on the phone in training camp saying: I don’t think he knows my name, but Brett Favre smiled in my direction today!

I know, there are success stories—Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, etc.—and every team sells the idea of open competition (I’ve made the pitch). However, these stories are the rare exceptions, often influenced by injuries above the players on the depth chart. For most, no matter what they do between Easter and Labor Day, they have no chance on God’s green earth of making the team. They are filling a role, cheap commodities rented during the long NFL offseason, with short-term leases expiring on cutdown day.

Wes Welker went from being a 'camp body' to having a very productive NFL career. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Wes Welker went from being a ‘camp body’ to having a very productive NFL career. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

An alternative?

Once released, players typically follow the standard practice: (1) stay in shape; (2) check in with their agent, poring over injuries at their position, and if they can, (3) maintain flexible employment to allow them to walk away at a moment’s notice for a tryout or signing.

What if there were another alternative for these hundreds of players flushed out of the system, one even with the imprimatur of the NFL brand on it? In what were among Troy Vincent’s first public comments after he was named NFL VP of Football Operations in March, he raised the possibility of a player developmental league. Vincent floated this idea for public consumption—a tried and true NFL tactic—and it was well received.

I was part of the NFL’s first attempt at a developmental league as general manager of the Barcelona Dragons in the NFL’s World League of American Football, where we had conflicting missions to: (1) introduce American Football in new global markets, and (2) develop players.

As for selling American football, it was quite the challenge in Spain. Fans cheered at the wrong times—the biggest ovations were for the extra point—and did “the wave” the entire game long. Despite more sophisticated audiences in London and Germany, NFL owners first shuttered the World League and later NFL Europe.

As for developing players, many ended up on training camp rosters; NFL teams were enticed to keep them around with training camp exemptions. Some players did perform well upon returning to NFL training camps, although we noticed “tired legs” were an issue for many.

D-League makes sense

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With the NFL’s international efforts now concentrated on games (or a team) in London, an NFL-sanctioned developmental league can focus on the training of players and, as Vincent indicated, other personnel such as coaches, scouts, officials, etc. The league could also serve as a season-long experimental lab for new officiating rules and technological advancements.

As for a season time frame, the CBA now mandates that NFL players vacate their team facility for three months, enough time for an entire developmental league season, using first-class NFL team facilities. Alternatively, the league could be staged in a central location in Florida, Texas or Southern California. As for the issue of tired legs, this early time frame would allow for ample recovery by July training camps.

Conversely, a fall time frame would allow a concurrent feeder system similar to Major League Baseball, with potential call-ups throughout the season. And ultimately, I can envision alignments with NFL teams where NFL coaches handpick developmental league coaches to teach similar schemes, allowing for seamless transitions back and forth.

Build it, they will come

While the developmental league won’t happen this year and perhaps not next, it has all the elements needed to happen, the most important being the sanction of the NFL. As for the lifeblood of any sports league—television—there will be no shortage of potential programmers for the product. The sports sub-networks of NBC, CBS and Fox and ESPN’s many outlets—along, of course, with NFL Network—will all be natural outlets for the product.

And what about that product? The abundant supply of players described above certainly creates a ready, willing and able talent pool that deserves a chance to play. And when that time comes, perhaps we can feel less conflicted about the hundreds that will be in the wind in the next 10 days. My business of football mantra—So many players, so few jobs—rings the loudest this time of year.

Brandt’s Rant 

Manziel Mess
What to make of Cleveland's QB situation? Peter King talked to Browns coach Mike Pettine. FULL STORY.
A couple thoughts to throw into the ample mix of commentary on Johnny Manziel, from both the league and team perspective.

From the NFL’s point of view, what a godsend he has been for the short term. The league has been wrestling with the lack of interest in the preseason for years; it was a regular topic in owner meetings I attended. While the NFL can’t be pleased with some of his antics—there will be fines for the flipped bird—he has been the biggest savior of preseason interest in some time. Television ratings and social media traffic can attest to that.

From the Browns’ perspective, they cannot be surprised by anything they have seen thus far. They knew whom they were drafting in the first round: an exciting and somewhat undisciplined prospect, both on and off the field, for better or worse. It’s not like anyone in the organization can be thinking, Wow, Manziel’s crazy! There are lots of chapters left in the story, both good and bad, but this cannot be a mystery to the Browns.

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51 comments
yellingfore
yellingfore

The NFL will likely establish a team in London, and then reopen a league in Europe.  Best case the parlay the support into a second team which plays in alternating European cities.  The Europeans would not notice the drop off in talent, in a Europe league, and so long as the NFL does not over-push into the wrong markets (Spain, France) and fosters other markets (Germany, Netherlands), they could use this two pronged approach to achieve success (albeit with limited teams).  


They have an international expansion plan on the table, and it looks like it'll take place in 2021 (overseas that is).  Goodell's actions so far have tipped his hand to the NFL becoming a much more international league, and we could see teams in Toronto, Mexico City, London, and presumably more of europe in the very near future.


You can read more about what he's done, in further detail here: http://yfo.re/NFLuk

RoyCrim
RoyCrim

Great--then the 24/7 channels will have oodles of film of Developmental Players getting concussions because some linebacker or DB wants to impress Rex Ryan.. Just what the talking heads need to fill their Broadcast Day 

 Hundreds of players from the conventional paths to the NFL resign themselves to the fact --so very few are good enough to commit themselves and make a career in Professional Football  Let them go get real jobs 

DWJ08
DWJ08

Manziel was not drafted for what he is now, but what he could be later on. With some maturity and the development to be comfortable in the pocket, and some extra muscle, the sky is the limit for Maziel. The gamble is all of that is easier said than done.

EricVonHollen
EricVonHollen

No is going to watch scrubs in a D league-- they can go play in the CFL or Arena league.

mediamike77
mediamike77

This is such a top notch idea. There are a few ways to run a full NFL minor league system, but it needs to be done. 

JRoy_20
JRoy_20

Great article, with some very insightful ideas. Also I think with these practice squad increases across the league, this could be big for bubble players. I'm really hoping to see rookie QB Brock Jensen of NDSU picked up somewhere and put on PS. His potential is something many people want to see in this league. The kid is a winner and has proved that. Also very talented and developed. He played in the FCS like Romo, but proved to win big against teams in the Big 12 (youtube NDSU/Kansas St final drive) Would really like to see him get a shot. 

6marK6
6marK6

I don't believe NFL owners are going to see the development of fringe players as being worth the cost of starting such a league. Unless you can market this league and make money off of it, which I don't think you can

WilHenderson
WilHenderson

1. Eliminate ALL practice squads
 2. Cut roster to 48 men
 3. Grant all 32 NFL teams a 48-man B team
 4. All B-teams will be NOT be located in same city as parent team BUT within 150 miles
 5. B-team salary cap at 3% NFL team cap ( $130mil NFL = $3.9mil BFL or $81k+ avg player as fair B league money )
 6. Counter scheduling > When ever the parent team plays away , the aways teams BFL team visits so there is ALWAYS a home game that wk ( be it Thur) in the region ( except BFL play-offs )
 7. Parent team can call players up whenever they wish due to injury or circumstance
 8. Training camp can be shared by both teams
 9. like practice squad , teams can practice against each other during the season as well.
   You may even find during the season a BFL player beginning to greatly surpass his
      NFL counter-part in which case one gets called up while the other gets sent down .
10. Which I could go either way on is to make BFL games all WED / THUR games thus
       acting as that mid-week football fix for the networks and freeing NFL teams from that
       recurring short week issue ( as well as adding Wed as a bonus to the networks )

usameos6
usameos6

If the NFL is looking at ways to charge Rihanna and Katy Perry for performing at halftime to make additional revenue - you've got to think that they're at least looking at this to see if it's financially viable.

newtons.third
newtons.third

I think that the D League is a great idea. However, I would include kids as young as 17 or so. Those kids that do not want to go to class in college, here is a possible outlet. Let teams have a second draft for high school aged kids, let them go to the D League (Youth Division), and now you have many of the problems with college football dealt with. Let the team that drafts the youth player have their rights until the senior year. The players get a NFL training environment, get paid, maybe attend a class or two at a local college, and college players can be student athletes again. 

Senior Division might start with 21 year old players, Have Senior games on Tuesday, for possible call up for Sunday, Youth division on Wednesday or Thursday. Every team having a Youth team, maybe one Senior team for two NFL teams, of opposite conferences so that rivals do not populate the same team.

More details to be worked out. But this would allow the kids to be paid if that is what they want, or earn an education, if that is what is wanted. NFL would get better developed players, the college draft would be hurt a bit, but the busts that we see now would not be as prevalent. See how the player development of soccer players in Europe works. 

rskins09
rskins09

Know Bushbaum (PFW) years ago wanted a QB taxi squad on every team ...Pay them less $  and have them exempt  from regular taxi squad limit ...Good idea but don't think it will ever happen ...

GoPSULions
GoPSULions

A "D" league would only work if the NFL wants to foot the entire bill, or at least most of it. I do not see it having any type of major following and fan base.  In fall, next to the NFL, College ball fills the fan base.  The Arena Football League exists in the summer, but does not have the financial stability on its own.  I do not see the NFL really caring to spend the $$ to essentially support this concept.  Each team already has a practice squad which they keep 10 of these developmental players.

Ken1
Ken1

I like the idea of a D-league.  I think it is good for the fans AND the league.  However, I don't think it makes much sense to do it anytime but during the regular NFL season.  Its schedule could be very similar to baseball's minor league schedule with players cut from the big league filtering down to the "minors", which would start their season a few weeks after the big boys and end their playoffs by around Xmas.  I am thinking playing those games on a football "off" night would be best for all involved, maybe on Tuesday and Wednesday nights when no (or very few) other football games are being played, and, presumably, the teams could be based in mid-size cities that do not have pro teams, for example, Oklahoma City, OK or Jacksonville, FL... oops, scratch that last one.  lol.  


While the idea of hiring coaches who will follow an NFL team's "system" makes sense on the surface, that would imply that each pro team would have its own minor league team.  I don't see how the economics or even the available players would allow for this.  I think the D-league would necessarily have to be limited to a few teams, maybe 6 or 8.  Any more than that would mean the teams would be reaching for some pretty mediocre talent to fill out rosters.  Each NFL team could get a fixed number of slots on D-league teams so they could pick and choose which players they want to develop, and, perhaps could even have some discretion in stating where these players go (for example to a D-league team that runs a similar offense or defense as theirs or to one that plays nearby so they can "call the player up" easily if they need him.  Then, like minor league baseball, the teams could flesh out their rosters with some players of their own choosing, maybe guys who played locally in high school or college or older vets trying to make a comeback that might put fans in the seats or just maybe the best available players not on an NFL roster at that moment.    


I don't see myself ever becoming a "fan" of a D-league team, but I could see myself killing a boring Tuesday night watching a game on TV.... especially if the teams had some players from the bottom of the camp roster of my favorite NFL team.  If nothing else, it would give the NFL network some more programming and that is never a bad thing.  

JeffYoung
JeffYoung

I am of the opinion that the league needs a 2 prong strategy. A spring 'developmental' league and a fall '2nd division'

The 2nd division wouldn't just be about development but players could actually make a career out of playing at that level, play in American markets within smaller stadiums (smaller college/maybe MLS stadiums would be perfect) and play these games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday nights (Live programming for NFL Network with the Thursday game either leading into the NFL game or after it). In this 2nd division players would remain with teams from season to season and could even sign multi-year deals potentially (outs to move to the NFL would be part of contract). 

Have the season begin 3 weeks after the NFL season, play 10-12 games plus a 2-3 week playoff to try to end the season with 1-2 weeks of the NFL season left. 

Marchoir
Marchoir

No way the NFL needs a D-League. At some point, you have to pay the piper. These clowns neglected to take a traditional route to an education, earning a living, and becoming a productive member of society. They rejected and spat on the free college education that they were handed on a platter. They subscribed to the "...don't need no college education. I'm a baller" theory of economics. And now when it's time to face harsh reality and to reap the fruits of what they have sown, they want a life preserver. The hell with them. Reality bites. Go back and stand on the street corner and sign up for a government entitlement, or undertake an alternative job outside the law. No Bentley for you, Superstar. No 50,000 sq. ft. house. No making it rain in the local strip joint. You made your bed, now lie in it. American society and the man didn't keep you down. You kept yourself down. Vince Young got his old school to toss him a life line. Most of the others won't be so fortunate.

lcaseyk
lcaseyk

I can't see how the NFL can't do a D-League, if nothing else than to expand the reach of the existing franchises.  Think of a D-League team in Boulder feeding the Broncos, a team in Des Moines feeding the Rams, the possibilities exist to develop players and expanded interest, much like the minors have done for baseball.  To say Arena League football can do the same thing, the games are too different, and while there are players in Arena who could and should be on NFL rosters, the players there are fooling themselves if they think there is a good shot without a training camp or two to change to the NFL game and break bad habits.

AndrewJHamm
AndrewJHamm

Anyone who thinks the NCAA, AFL, or CFL do the job of a dedicated developmental league is pretty ignorant of how pro football works. NCAA Football isn't a legitimate parallel because of eligibility restrictions, and college ball doesn't do what an NFL D-league would be designed for: to develop professional-level and professional-aged talent that harsh roster cuts leave on the street. The D-league would help develop the Kurt Warners of the world. Likewise, the AFL game is very different from the NFL one; arena experience does not necessarily transfer to the NFL. An NFL D-league would emphasize NFL-style skills and play far better than any option we have, and if it's directly under the auspices of the NFL, its players will be constantly on the radar of NFL organizations.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

A D-League already exists - it's called NCAA Division I football

FrankWelton
FrankWelton

Personally I would like the D-League idea, but use the existing arena leagues to accomplish it.  Smaller, medium size cities, more teams, set levels with relegation between them, and have a genuine 32 team playoff.  Incentive performance with automatic spots in NFL training camp for all stars.  Make the established NFL players mentor the arena guys in the off season.  Require each team to regionally support a set number of teams and allow the teams to sign a certain number of players to multi-year contracts.

Alex1
Alex1

Isnt this what Arena Football and Canadian Football are for?

stewartjk1
stewartjk1

I don't agree with an NFL D-league.  Marginal players keeping their dreams alive and suffering concussions and other serious injuries for nothing.  You played HS, you played college, you went to training camp, you got cut.  Even if you work hard the best you can hope for is make a team as #53 or a practice squad player.  Time to see the writing on the wall and go get a job.

pompanofl
pompanofl

I lived in Macon, Ga for a while. The had a minor league hockey team the "Macon Whoopee." (Great name.) Middle Georgia doesn't know anything about hockey, but they filled the arena for all the games because they didn't have any good sports options.


I can't imagine this wouldn't succeed. These games should be above the level of all but the best college teams.


I agree with the below comments that it should run concurrently with the NFL schedule.


Probably a 12 week season. They get released from the NFL team right before the season. Then go to the D team for a few weeks of practice & pre-season games. This way their playoffs are finished a couple weeks before the NFL. 


Try to find locations which aren't near pro teams and big time college programs. When you see how popular Minor league hockey and arena football are in cities with no close alternatives, there is no doubt that this would be successful. And they make it work without any TV revenue. 


witmiller
witmiller

I would love it if they managed to create a real minor league system giving high school graduates an opportunity other than the NCAA. Then we can keep that amateur and kids can decide what really matters to them.

BiffMcBride
BiffMcBride

Agree with scheifnet that it should be concurrent, perhaps with players not being eligible for "call ups" until week 11 or to replace a player on IR. Of course, if you lose your suddenly-refined star QB in week 11 to the "majors" that could throw the team for a loop, but um, we're just tossing out ideas for now.

In addition, if the games were played on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, it would be a boon for potential broadcasting partners, for example, the NFL Network or the NBC Sports Network, who would do Oklahoma drills with Clowney to get 2 to 3 to 4 million eyeballs on their networks for those nights. Let us not overlook that it's not necessarily about putting butts in the stands, its about broadcasting and sponsorship revenue. Not that that's a positive thing, as evidenced in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers sold the rights to broadcast their games to Time Warner Cable, which lopped off a significant portion of their base from watching their games. Anyway, people may point to the CFL and how people in the US don't care for 2nd tier football, but that's different. Culturally, it just feels odd watching those games. And Arena Football? Meh. But if you had 32 franchises scattered around the US in markets such as Las Vegas, Birmingham, Salt Lake City, fans would form more of an "attachment" to their local teams and more likely watch the games.

And let us not forget about all the degenerate football gamblers out there who would make a significant chunk of the audience (who do you think is watching Hawai'i football, God save it, at 2 in the morning?)

With the juggernaut that is the NFL and major college football, I don't see how this isn't the next step. The NFL and its owners are heat-seeking missiles looking for more streams of revenue and I don't see how a developmental league won't be revenue positive.

schleifnet
schleifnet

a d league should follow the minor league baseball model and not the basketball model with a concurrent season and easy call ups as needed for injury etc. the off season model would force tops pros near the end of their career to participate in a year round season and would ruin the talent.

6marK6
6marK6

well thought out, but the problem is money, and the owners don't want to spend it

WilHenderson
WilHenderson

@usameos6 Performers on the whole would rather make money selling albums then with concerts . They can either #1 , treat as an advertisement but I do not think artist want to pay for 20 minutes considering what a 20second ad goes for or #2 treat it as party of the NFL in which they pay the performer but own the rights to that which was performed. Go ahead , sing California Gurls , get paid by the NFL BUT they also own the rights to it just like anything NFL players do .
  A 60,000 person concert hall may produce 6,000 album buyers so they need to make their money on the concert. On the other hand , 150,000,000 watching NFL super bowl halftime may develop 15million buyers ( just time your release date for Super Bowl Sunday PAYDAY ! )


IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

@newtons.third You'd have to decide what type of D league you're going to have.  Will it be for younger players, like your players looking for an alternative to college, or basically a place to stash replacements. 

gregatacd
gregatacd

@newtons.third The Junior/Youth Football system is interesting. It works great for Hockey. NHL is fed by both the junior system and the college system. 


I'm sure the college system folks would freak out if a junior system was developed, but it could work if done properly.

6marK6
6marK6

17 year old kids are not physically strong enough to play with these men

rm41970
rm41970

@GoPSULions Not sure I agree....  I think about AAA Baseball.  In areas with no MLB teams they seem to do well.  I am curious... does "aaa" baseball make money?  Also, I am a 30 minute drive from Cowboys stadium....  I have no interest in paying $100 for parking, $15 for a beer, and $300/ ticket.  If a minor league system was cheaper, I would go.    Also, perhaps suspended players could be sent down to the minors.  I remember growing up in Tidewater VA and the place was all abuzz over Darryl Strawberry playing there after one of his drug related issues....  These days it seems assured that every minor league NFL team would have at least one superstar on the roster...

WilHenderson
WilHenderson

@Ken1 Scrapping the bottom ? Of 125 Division 1 college football teams that pack stadiums and TV viewership, you can not find an extra 6 from each college to sign atleast a 2 year BFL deal ?

SimonAudisho
SimonAudisho

I don't know about there not being enough players, 90 players per camp eventually becomes 53 on kickoff, that's 37 players per team, more then enough for a D-league roster.*

*this is assuming the d-league team also has members of the nfl teams practice squad, if not then that would only be 25 per NFL team, probably not enough

HarveyVick
HarveyVick

@Marchoir   While you do make your point, most of what I get from your post is your jealous of athletes in general. Enjoy your life because it's way to short to be this bitter. 

rskins09
rskins09

@Marchoir   Vince Young was just too immature to play Pro Football  .. Not every college player is an idiot coming out of college ...I'd hang around for a couple of years and try out for different team(s) if i thought I had a chance to make it in the NFL ...Some players it's the love of the game , $ is secondary ...No college player wants to be told no, your not good enough ..You come across as bitter ...   

brandnka
brandnka

@Marchoir You sound overwhelmingly bitter. What happened in your life to make you this way? If you thought you had a 10% chance to make $400k+ on a minimal NFL salary if you put in the time for one or two years, wouldn't you do it? Most people (99%) with a recent college degree will never make that type of cash in a single year in their life.

Ken1
Ken1

@Marchoir Why do you care if some 23-year-old kid decides to take a year or two of his life to see if he can up his game and make an NFL roster?  I don't see these leagues using.... or even being tempted to use... anybody but guys who've already took the traditional path, went to college, went to an NFL camp and didn't quite make it.  The money couldn't be very good for the economics to work so it could never be a career choice.  NFL practice squad members make about $100,000 per year so the salaries in the D-league would have to be substantially lower than that, at most, maybe a thousand or two per game for a 10 to 12 game season with a small bonus for playoff games.  That would allow players to take their best shot for a couple of seasons without having to starve while they do it, but it wouldn't be enough to allow them to keep plugging along trying to "make it" once they hit the wrong side of 30.  It is not like the career path of the average economics or history major today has many better options right out of college.  I know very few people who didn't spend a couple of years after college scuffling along, making very little money at jobs they hated and that gave them few marketable skills before eventually finding what became their career, and, by all accounts, the market is much worse today than it was a few years ago when I and my friends got out of college.  I would argue that committing to trying to make an NFL roster would prove as much to some future employer in the "real world" as many other entry level jobs would.              

usameos6
usameos6

@lcaseyk The other thing is that it could help see where there's enough fan interest to support expansion (San Antonio, for instance) or relocation (LA) and help establish all of the logistics pieces necessary prior to moving teams to different cities.

AndrewJHamm
AndrewJHamm

A D-league would also allow a way into the NFL for athletes besides college. That could help clean up academic fraud; a path to the league that doesn't involve basket-weaving majors...

tmadz
tmadz

@AndrewJHamm  Exactly. That's why a D league is more important that college sports, but you won't be able to kill that cash cow. Soccer around the world doesn't fool itself with college level sports. All signees go into lesser leagues or development leagues and move up based on skill. Everyone knows they're there to earn a living and avoid the fallacy of an education. The club makes money and the athlete makes money. No BS about the schools are doing it for the students and tradition. That's why the NCAA and college level sports are all lies.

strat68
strat68

@ProfessorGriff You beat me to it.  Why would the NFL pay for a "D" league when "student athletes" are there by the thousands.

schleifnet
schleifnet

@FrankWelton heck why not mimic European soccer and have teams get relegated if they really suck and get promoted if their great

schleifnet
schleifnet

@BiffMcBride in MLB minors the season starts after the majors and ends before the majors and each minor league down start and ends within the parent league season, plus a number of the best players for each team automatically get called up, I think the majors get an expanded roster to end the season too

brandnka
brandnka

@SimonAudisho Don't rule out the possibility that this new league would bleed the arena league. I think it would be the death knell to that league, and would certainly bulk up the developmental league rosters.

usameos6
usameos6

@rskins09 @Marchoir I would say the same thing about Akili Smith from the University of Oregon - he had tremendous physical talent but had only played a single year at Division 1 and was immediately put into a starting QB role with the Bengals.  The NFL is not equipped (nor should it be as currently structured) to develop young players and this would help fill that void and provide better talent to the league.

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