AAF to stock rosters with local talent

The Sports Xchange

July 12, 2018 at 3:21 pm.

The Alliance of American Football hopes to generate fan interest by stocking team rosters with players who have local ties.

J.K. McKay, the head of football operations for the Alliance, told Pro Football Talk on Thursday that the league will put an emphasis on keeping players as close to the colleges where they played.

The eight-team AAF is scheduled to begin its inaugural season in February 2019, one week after the Super Bowl is played. The league has franchises in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Diego.

“You want to keep local kids home when you can,” McKay told PFT. “It creates fan interest. Our Birmingham team will have Alabama and Auburn, and that will draw some fan interest.”

The AAF will follow a blueprint used by other new leagues in how they allocate players. If a player did not play at a college near any of the eight teams, he will be moved to a team closest to the last NFL team with which he was affiliated.

“It just makes sense,” McKay said. “You’re bringing in guys people know. From a marketing standpoint it’s good, it allows players to stay home. Other leagues have done it and we’re absolutely committed to it and excited about it.”

Earlier this month, the AAF announced that it will hold three combines — in Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta — in August to look for players.

The league expects a glut of talent to become available at the start of September once NFL teams make their final cuts to get down to a 53-man roster.

“We have a pretty good sense now,” said McKay. “We’ve brought in some really excellent general managers who are experienced in the NFL. We can look now and put together a pretty good list of who you have right now.”

The AAF plans to have 75-player rosters to start training camp and whittle them down to 50 for the regular season. McKay said the base contract for the league will be three years and $250,000.

The eight AAF teams have already named their head coaches: Brad Childress (Atlanta), Tim Lewis (Birmingham), Mike Singletary (Memphis), Steve Spurrier (Orlando), Rick Neuheisel (Phoenix), Dennis Erickson (Salt Lake City) Mike Riley (San Antonio) and Mike Martz (San Diego).