New U.S. Football League to pay 3yr $250K contracts

Darren Rovell?Verified account

JUST IN: Players in new pro football league, @TheAAF, will be given three-year, $250,000 contracts

That is about $85K US per szn

CFL starts at about $45K US

Also they have no obligation to honour CFL contracts like the NFL does:o

The legal obligation still holds though. Breach of contract I believe is not just a civil offence but a criminal offence.

No matter what, the CFLPA just got in a better position for the upcoming contract negotiations,
Look for a big increase in the cap

Here is how player allocation is going to work(they even mention the CFL)

Is the 250K over 3 years across the board? The article doesn't specify if this is a minimum or maximum amount.

I guess if a CFL under contract wants to bolt, then the team will just suspend him without pay and then he burns his bridges if he doesn't work out in the AAF.

The seasons don't overlap so I don't see a mass exodus occurring but a bargaining chip for the PA during CBA negotiations more likely.

Edit on the above: If a player is outside of phase 1 and they only have CFL experience, how does that allocate them to a specific AAF team?

Great explanation here

It will be interesting to see what the CFLPA does with rookie salaries next CBA. If they are sacrificed again then you may not see as much talent coming north. At least until this new league every other pro football league down south does.

Appreciate the link.

So it appears the 250K/over 3 years is a minimum but they can earn bonuses to earn more.

The CFL to AAF allocation, looks western CFL teams can be allocated to AAF west teams and v.v.

Yes, the PA will have some leverage here. The AAF is backed by CBS, not sure how much they're paying. Does this help the CFL with upcoming TV rights so they can stay competitive?

The CFL team could also sue the AAF team for breach of contract, and that's a big deal these days. Remember that T. Boone Pickens bankrupted Texaco for breach of contract and that funeral home operator Loewen Group was left banrupt after what appeared to be a penny-ante breach of contract suit in Louisiana.


The CFL season doesn't start till June. This new league could fail by then.

The biggest thing is why does the CFL have trouble with a secondary and further down the list broadcaster TV south of the border while CBS is going with this unknown quantity the AAF . Giving it credibility off the mark .

Not that the CFL could muster anything like that without US teams but they should be able to get all there games over the air in traditional media of TV then arrange for all games to be on the net as well .

ESPN 2 is sporadic and non existent past mid August until almost Grey Cup .This terrible coverage is a poor way to grow the league.

don't know much about Americans but do they really want a second football league? Especially when the rest have failed? I'm a big hockey fan but if another league started in the summer I wouldn't watch cuz I wouldn't care and would never care. Down there its NFL and university football in the fall and winter and then the off season. These dummies who keep trying to bring in new football leagues are just throwing their money down the tubes

The CFL's Canadian media rights with Bell(TSN) were extended this past off-season till 2021.
The CFL's US/UK/International media rights expire this off season.The league has to avoid giving
the rights up for longer than 3 years.They have to have the ability to sync up the negotiations
in 2021 to get the payout they need to survive.

AAF is backed by venture capital(much like a Tech start-up).Some of the investors include
Peter Thiel, Peter Chernin, and Colony Capital.The objective is to eventually have the NFL
buy an equity stake that eventually leads to a complete buyout and thus become the true
official minor league of the NFL.The NFL has historically avoided the initial costs that would
be associated with such a project and this is an attempt to have someone else do the heavy
lifting.The NFL old guard(Jerry Jones,Bob Kraft) are going to be replaced by their children soon,
who are business school/beancounter types.They will see the value in buying it.

Can it survive it's initial season?
I would count on it(Peter Thiel does not spend his money foolishly). 2020 could be a different
story with The XFL coming into the picture.This is why you see them being very public with
their salary offers.They want to lock up as many of the street free agents that are currently
available. (this is before the next wave of NFL cuts arrive after Labor Day).

Is this going to have an effect on player recruitment?
Considering the fact that the current crop of CFL personnel people don't scout FCS/D2/D3 players
for philosophical reasons(Dave Ritchie mentality).The NFLPA is going to be very interested in
trying to use The XFL/AAF player membership as a bargaining chip in labor negotiations in 2021.
(games played = Pension points).That will be very enticing to potential players/agents.
The CFL's cost cutting measures on the personnel side are not doing themselves any favors.
The next two off-season recruitment cycles are going to be very interesting.

The league can pay as much as it wants but if it doesn't last past a season or two you won't see it hurt the CFL. This seems to happen every few seasons, this league has some sort of TV deal at least so it's slightly better off than it's failed predecessors.

Did I read that right or is it a misprint ? Each team is to have a 75 man roster ? If true that's a ridiculous number . Doing the math with 22 starters on offence/defence plus most likely 2 kickers per team that would leave approx 51 reserve or back-ups per team . Which would mean a helluva lot of players not even seeing the field at 3rd or 4th string status being paid $83,000 just for showing up for practice .

When you compare it with the NFL roster size max of 53 man and the CFL at 46 man having a mandated 75 man roster is mind boggling to say the least . Basically with 8 franchises granted this newbie league is looking at with rosters this size at having 600 players under contract at approx $83,000 per man when it starts up in February for only a 10 gm schedule . Not really sure where they expect the revenue to come from with only 5 home gms per team to cover the overhead unless that is that they have one heck of a TV package and contract in place and a lot of owners with deep,deep pockets .

Good luck to them because I can't see this one getting off the ground

I would be extremely surprised if it's a criminal offence. I can't imagine that it's in the Criminal Code.

These spring leagues have only helped the CFL, in the long run, in the past. More players that arrive to CFL training camps with some Pro experience.

75 man roster seems high, maybe their training camp roster?
TV contract with CBS. Most previous spring leagues have gotten TV contract. XFL had NBC. I been able to watch some games from the different spring leagues.

The CFL should take note. they will lose some players, but they will find replacements.

Although the CFL is my favourite football league, I am a football fan, so I am fine with a spring league that starts over 2 months after the CFL season, and ends a month before training camp. If it does stick around, its another reason for the CFL to keep the season where it should be: End of June to end of November.

Here are the CFL's, and NFL's, farm teams.

Players to be split up regionally (breakdown inside)

How it works
[th]NFL Teams[/th]
[th]CFL Teams[/th]
[tr][td]Alliance Atlanta[/td]
[td]Albany State, Clark-Atlanta, Clemson, Fort Valley State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Kennesaw State, Louisville, Mercer, Morehouse, North Carolina, Savannah State, Shorter, VA. Tech, Valdosta State, Virginia, West Georgia[/td]
[td]Falcons, Jaguars, Panthers, Redskins[/td]
[tr][td]Alliance Birmingham[/td]
[td]Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Alabama-Birmingham, Alabama, Auburn, Jacksonville State, Louisiana Tech, Maryland, Miles College, Mississippi State, Missouri, NC State, North Alabama, Samford, South Alabama, South Carolina, Troy, Tuskegee, West Alabama[/td]
[td]Bills, Browns, Patriots, Steelers[/td]
[td]Montreal, Ottawa[/td]
[tr][td]Alliance Memphis[/td]
[td]Arkansas, Austin Peay, Carson-Newman, Chattanooga, East Tennessee State, Kentucky, Lane, LSU, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Ole Miss, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, Tennessee-Martin, Tennessee, Tusculum, Vanderbilt[/td]
[td]Bengals, Colts, Saints, Titans[/td]
[tr][td]Alliance Orlando[/td]
[td]Bethune-Cookman, Florida, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Florida State, Florida Tech, Jacksonville, Miami, South Florida, Stetson, UCF, West Florida[/td]
[td]Buccaneers, Dolphins, Giants, Jets[/td]
[tr][td]Alliance Phoenix[/td]
[td]Arizona, Arizona State, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, Northwestern, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Texas-El Paso, UCLA, Washington State[/td]
[td]49ers, Bears, Cardinals, Ravens[/td]
[tr][td]Alliance Salt Lake[/td]
[td]Air Force, Boise State, BYU, Cal, Colorado State, Dixie State, Idaho, Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Southern Utah, Utah, Utah State, Weber State, Wyoming[/td]
[td]Broncos, Packers, Seahawks, Vikings[/td]
[tr][td]Alliance San Antonio[/td]
[td]Abilene Christian, Angelo State, Baylor, Houston, Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, Lamar, Midwestern State, Oklahoma, Prairie View A&M, Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, Stephen F. Austin, Tarleton State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas A&M-Commerce, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Texas Southern, Texas State, Texas-Permian Basin, West Texas A&M[/td]
[td]Chiefs, Cowboys, Eagles, Texans[/td]
[tr][td]Alliance San Diego[/td]
[td]Azusa Pacific, Cal Poly, California-Davis, Colorado, Fresno State, Hawaii, Humboldt State, Sacramento State, San Diego, San Diego State, San Jose State, Stanford, UNLV, USC, Washington[/td]
[td]Chargers, Lions, Raiders, Rams[/td]
[td]BC Lions[/td]

Courtesy reddit

Don’t be surprised to see Manziel playing in this league at some point in the near future especially considering that he is currently under contract with The Chernin Group who owns Barstool Sports and is a major investor in the AAF.

And as numerous reports reveal, CFL players are eligible to play in the upstart league therefore expect to see Manziel suit up with the Orlando franchise this coming February which is the AAF designated team for Hamilton Tiger-Cats players who wish to take the plunge stateside.

With the 3 yr minimum AAF salary of $329,000 CAN ($250,000 US) and additional potential bonuses for just 10 games, it will be a very attractive option or addendum to Internationals who reside in the well as interested Canadian Nationals.

Charlie Ebersol and company are quite powerful figures in the TV, media and sports industry and shouldn’t be quickly dismissed by CFL hierarchy...or us common folk.

With a 10 game season and it looks like no bye weeks, it starts on the weekend ofFeb. 9, with the championship being the last weekend of April. Maybe early May.

That may not stop Manziel or any other hopeful to double dip. Being a starter in the AAF and then Masoli's back up afterwards may not be too much of a

How things come around …

The only truly successful spring league, the USFL paid NFL-comparable contracts.* I find it massively ironic that the USFL had two significant newsworthy events.

One, it pointed the NFL to new markets that showed they could and would support a pro-level franchise, and the NFL awarded new franchises to those locations after the league folded.

Those cities are no longer options if this league intends to parlay any successful franchises into an NFL expansion team, which the NFL doesn’t want anyway past it’s current size. The only REAL incentive** to own a football team in the US is to somehow parlay your small investment into a “Big Show” deal, basically the same incentive a player would have (and the player has a better, however marginal, chance to do).

Two, some Wrecking Ball named Donald Trump singlehandedly caused that league to fold.

Maybe a CFL-contracted player might consider bolting to the Yet-Another-Vince-McMahon League. But the NFL will honour his contract validity to the CFL, so there is no chance of moving to The Show for such a player. On the other hand most CFL teams (cough, Toronto, cough) will happily release a player to pursue NFL opportunities. Mr McMahon has not generally been so generous previously.

US $250K … remember it’s a 3-year obligation, which players in this league are reluctant to sign … is still lower than most skilled International players earn in the CFL. Many Nationals make more, even. So even if you sign a minimum contract initially, this league generally rewards truly skilled players with a bigger contract than that, typically in Year2.

Few of the players in Mr McMahon’s last attempt made it to the NFL. I can think of only one*** … there must have been a handful more after the league folded, but none while it was operating.

Spring Leagues in the US have traditionally had a difficult time getting fans to sit in the stands; they were only marginally more popular with TV viewers, but certainly people were more willing to sit on the couch than in a stadium seat. Which explains the budget of this League in a football-crazy nation 11x Canada’s population for season ticket sales and media viewers available.

There are a large number of talented football players in North America, if there is one constant it’s that the NFL every year misses some very talented players who could and should have been offered a contract. With a contract length that is 60~80% of the average NFL player’s career, I don’t see this league as anything to lose sleep over. If you are ambitious and want to prove you can “really play” you will sign with the CFL if the NFL passes. Some players will want to stay closer to home and sign with Mr McMahon instead for that reason, but then again you have to question their ambition if that’s their choice.

  • The USFL actually paid more than the NFL for marquee players, and forced the NFL in general to up it’s salary offers during the time the league was operating, and of course afterward.

** The other, somewhat smaller incentive, is to obtain tax credits from operating a sports franchise, as they inevitably are money losers on the books (if they are not, fire your accountant). Yes, even most NFL teams. You make your money when you sell the franchise, and many owners use it as collateral for low-interest loans. With it’s small footprint, the maximum tax loss in this enterprise is not particularly attractive to someone with “real” money, and the potential for a windfall when you sell is a high risk Vegas bet.

*** Rod Smart, AKA “He Hate Me”, had a reasonably long 6-year football career, in the XFL, then signed with the CFL (Edmonton), and finally in the NFL (4 seasons, mostly with Philly, but really only 3 as a starter). Note that he could not get a contract with the NFL directly from the XFL. He did sign with another “spring league” team two years after he was cut by the Raiders, but never played as they folded before they played a game.

Another notable USFL player (besides some guy named Doug Flutie) was Joey Walters, who was traded to Saskatchewan from the Bombers in his rookie season (Ha!Ha!) and had 5+ seasons in SK, CFL and West All-Star, and Plaza of Honour inductee in SK. He led the USFL one year in receiving (3 year career) and is in their All-Time Team roster, despite playing on a perennial losing team. He played briefly in the NFL (5 games) during the '87 strike season as a replacement player.