Is Another NFL Developmental League On The Way?

It’s been seven years now since the NFL Europe league folded, but yet another developmental league could soon be on the way.

New director of football operations Troy Vincent recently said that he can see in the NFL’s future yet another league to develop talent within.

“We need to keep the pipeline of talent flowing, and that means for all areas of our game: players, coaches, scouts, game officials,” said Vincent, who recently replaced Ray Anderson. “I am responsible to look at whatever the competition committee looks at, and that includes a developmental league.

“For all this football talent around, we have to create another platform for developing it. Maybe it’s an academy — what would it look like? Maybe it’s a spring league; we’ll look to see if there is an appetite for it.”

While I like the idea of the NFL attempting to create yet another developmental league, there are certainly quite a few obstacles that will have to be overcome in order for it to be successful. I’d also like to see the new developmental league run concurrent with the NFL, but obviously the games would more than likely have to be played on Tuesday or Wednesday nights as to not compete with high school, college or NFL games.

NFL Europe certainly didn’t produce the profits that owners wanted, but it did manage to produce a few players that would go on to have success in the NFL as quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Jake Delhomme both spent time overseas.

Will it work this time around? More importantly, will it make NFL owners money? If it doesn’t, it surely won’t last long.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • MP34

    Find a way to merge the CFL under the NFL brand.

  • Hard Row

    Good. Start a developmental league. Let the kids who want to get paid go there instead of college then leave college football alone.

    Say goodbye to the SEC if that happens.

  • AzheDraven

    Please run that league in the offseason. I hate spending so much time without football :(

  • cencalsteeler

    Players who didn’t make the 53 man roster or practice squad are invited into the developmental league. Combine them with the other players from within the division forming the AFC North team. Each developmental team plays Wednesdays, after injury reports are turned in so the roster would be set.

  • Ken

    I know the idea is to have other cities be participants in the summer leagues… But it takes so long to build up team brands they fail before they can get going. If you made the teams more tied to the nfl teams – similar logos – so that everyone knew who’s farm team it was.. I think it would have a much greater chance to survive.

  • Nolrog

    The pipeline of talent is flowing. It’s called college football.

  • mlc43

    LOL…an NFL Minor League System. They would put teams in cities too small to support a “Big League” team. Build it and they will come!! haha

  • LucasY59

    I like the idea of a spring developmental league. 6 weeks long in March and April, get the Practice Squad and Training Camp bodies more time to show what they can do and “develop” the raw talented players, There would be more practice and game time for those players, instead of when training camp starts the quality snaps and time to work on technique and skills is used on 1st and 2nd string. They will get to work with the position coaches individually without the players who don’t need as much “coaching” taking all the practice reps. the pre-season is not that beneficial for those players either, they get a quarter or two at the end of 2 or 3 pre-season games. this would give them up to 16 extra quarters of actual playing time to see if they are developing into NFL type talent.

    Also gives us fans (and the Media) something different, Instead of spending countless hours guessing who the team will pick in the Draft, finding out if players are getting into trouble (either through actions or words) and counting days till Training camp, Pre-season and Regular season starts.

  • LucasY59

    could also change up how the Rosters are built.

    75 players on regular season roster

    the 53 roster wouldn’t participate in the spring league (they are beating up their bodies enough while on the active roster during the season)

    add a Developmental reserve 8-10 players that are safe from being signed away by other teams = can develop talent without risk of it being poached by other teams

    expand Practice squad to 12-16 players (same rules where player can be signed away to another teams active roster) = now have enough players that if a member of the active roster gets hurt another player doesn’t have to be cut just so the team can practice (e.g. LB or DB isn’t cut because the O-line has 3 injured players)

    another 25 players for training camp (the newly Drafted rookies and UDFA’s and any free agents signed after the draft to fill out the roster)

    any player that is playing in the spring should be happy (most would be sitting on the couch at home like us otherwise) yeah it wlould make for a long year, but even if they are stuck on the D-league roster for 3-4 years its better than moving furniture or selling insurance or used cars. also gives them full chance of making a team vs. getting cut 5 times and being out of football within 2-3 years of the end of their college football career

  • LucasY59

    I like the Idea of changing the Roster (Developmental Reserve and expanded PS) regardless of if the NFL starts a developmental league or not.

  • Aussie

    Like your thinking. Very similar to my first idea. 16 developmental league teams, organised geographically of one AFC and one NFC team ( eg 49ers and chargers to save financial costs). All players cut along the way to the final 53 before seasons start land on the developmental team. All players stay on the salary cap charge sheet, meaning that they can be promoted / relegated between the two teams. The training camp team retains full rights to the player. Teams also get compensation if a player is signed away from their developmental team ( eg transfer fee ). Now you can develop players, use them when injuries arise, give them game conditioning when returning from injury, gain confidence when playing poorly during a poor stretch. Works well in Aussie football codes who have feeder clubs or reserves teams.

  • Asmitty56

    Didn’t Harrison spend some time over seas as well? I’m pretty sure I heard this story a few years ago as well. Glad to hear they didn’t ditch the idea. A developmental team could really help players who don’t get drafted, or players who have jumped around with different teams, I could see players like Limas Sweed, Dennis Dixon, JaMarcus Russell, Tim Tebow, and Terrelle Pryor would be desperate for a developmental league.

  • Asmitty56

    Also would teams have their own farm teams?