Dozens Of NFL, CFL Teams Show Interest In Recently-Concluded Spring League

Remember The Spring League? It was the successor of the Fall Experimental Football League, both the brainchild of CEO Brian Woods. The Spring League recently wrapped up its inaugural ‘season’, so to speak, just a handful of games divided into four games, but the early results with respect to the NFL were positive, and Woods says that the League is already without a doubt locked up to continue in 2018.

While I do not believe the Pittsburgh Steelers were among any of the teams who actually signed players from the League or invited them to their rookie minicamps, several of them did, most notably the Panthers, who are bringing in about half a dozen players into the spring to give them a good look.

According to Kevin Seifert of ESPN, no fewer than 10 NFL teams, as well as a couple of CFL teams, sent scouts out to The Spring League’s practices and games in order to evaluate players, which is, I think, pretty significant. He writes that another 20 teams—no doubt divided between the NFL and CFL—requested video footage of games and practice in order to evaluate players.

“We were pleased with the NFL turnout for sure”, Woods told Seifert. “It was overwhelming and we were happy to have it. I was talking as it wrapped up with some of our coaches, and we feel like this league is in position to help quarterbacks as much as anything, and we all know that’s an ongoing priority for the NFL”.

While noting that “the talent level…probably fell short of what NFL teams envision for an established developmental league”, the fact of the matter is that more than around 15 percent of the 105 players involved in the league ended up signing a contract or receiving a minicamp invitation to earn a spot on a 90-man roster.

Panthers pro scouting director Mark Koncz said that he would “much rather see younger guys” rather than players like Ben Tate, who was one of the headliners of the League, saying that the ideal developmental league player was somebody who had been to a training camp but didn’t make the team due to scheme fits. Somebody like Jordan Dangerfield immediately springs to mind.

Still, Woods insists that the League provides valuable opportunities for players such as Tate, who last played for the Steelers in the playoffs in the 2015 season for one game. He was described as the highlight of the entire venture and Woods believes that he showed teams that he still has tread left on the tires.

The odds of unearthing a Pro Bowler from this league are slim at best, one might say, but the NFL has toyed with the idea of operating some sort of developmental league for a long time without doing anything about it since they shut down NFL Europe, which helped further the career of James Harrison, who played for the Rhein Fire.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Steelers12

    NFL desperately needs a development league with the way today’s CBA is constructed

  • Boots

    I wonder if doing something like giving teams a chance to designate a certain number of guys on their PS to participate in the league would benefit both leagues?

  • Michael Mosgrove

    shawn lemon anyone?

  • Spencer Krick

    You mean I could watch football during the spring? Sign me up!

  • Mike Lloyd

    I’m sure there’s those out there that still remember the World Football League in the early to mid 70’s, and the USFL in the early to mid 80’s. XFL with Maddox, whatever league you liked…
    Some nice players were developed there. Danny White QB Dallas and a few others in the 70’s, and the USFL had so many guys who would’ve never got a shot like Bobby Hebert. There’s no downside to developmental football. Even the CFL occasionally has offered great players, lest everyone forget Warren Moon and that Flutie went there awhile. Bring spring football back!

  • Chris92021

    I agree but these owners as a whole too cheap to spend the money for one. No, they will continue to quietly have a quasi-“we are not REALLY partners” with the NCAA and keep things going the same way it has been for 80 plus years.

  • Guest12

    It’s called the NCAA

  • LucasY59

    yep and expanded rosters so they can keep some of the guys they are trying to develop, but also have the guys that will help teams win now, would maybe help teams that get stuck in the rebuilding phase forever, and also help the good teams avoid needing to clean house and start over when their talented players get older (like the Steelers after their last SB run)

  • LucasY59

    I think this is the reason the owners should be willing to pay for a developmental league (they dont because they already have college football and dont have to pay for it) but they would make $ and give the fans something to watch, it wouldnt have the same ratings that the regular season does, but the pre-season makes them $ and I think a D-league could do the same thing, the NFL is the only big time pro sport that doesnt have a affiliated minor league

  • Guest12

    They need to stop letting teams take players off another teams practice squad. The players salary counts a teams cap space but then another team can just come and take him off. Doesn’t make any sense, if the contract counts towards your team cap then the other team should have to give some sort of compensation in return. MLB has the best farming system amongst all major sports for a reason, they allow teams the chance to develop these guys. The NFL just uses college football for their farming system, they should make the draft about 10 rounds and rounds 8-10 are strictly for guys you want to put on your practice squad.

  • Spencer Krick

    Pretty much what I hoped the UFL would morph into, but instead they wanted to play on Saturdays and compete with College Football. There was talk about moving to spring but it never happened. I’m glad someone FINALLY picked up on this idea.

    Even if the seasons were really short (like 2 months) it would go a long way for the sport.

  • AndyR34

    You aren’t going to see expanded rosters either…owners would rather keep the money and use street FA’s when they run out of players due to injuries.

  • falconsaftey43

    You could make the counter argument that allowing players to taken of other team’s practice squad helps development, as teams can only do it if they have him on active roster for 3 weeks. It promotes a guy up the ladder.

  • Luneth Gardens

    I’d like to see something in the mold of BLESTO scouting. Where you have semi-pro/development league with maybe 7-10 teams supported by multiple pro teams. Kind of like baseball’s farm system, but your have a handful of pro teams that own that farm team. Something happens during the season and one of your guys goes down, you call up a guy from your “BLESTO” team. Let’s say the Steelers and Lions both want to bring the guy up…he gets to choose based on how much they offer etc.

  • Steelers12

    I swear we could be better commissioners than that corpse that they have now

  • Steelers12

    NCAA and NFL game are two different things

  • Steelers12

    Unfortunately so

  • Terrible Towlie

    18-21 year old developmental league….for guys not smart enough for college, or those who just would rather get paid. put teams in areas where the most recruits come from, cities without a pro team.
    i’d watch it

  • LucasY59

    not hard to be better than badell

  • LucasY59

    only the cheap b@$+@rds like the guy in cinci,

    5 more PS type contracts (where a player cant be poached) wouldnt cost them enough to hardly notice

  • Applebite

    Right now, with the way the NCAA has gone with development, and how colleges are leaning heavily in favor of Feminism against athletes, I’d like to see something available to these guys where, college players could avoid these colleges, get a good job trade or take classes at night, whatever, and still be able to hone their skills in the sport of their choice. Getting away from Feminism is a big deal for some of these athletes, as the colleges try to pretty much use them for money, but expose them heavily to Gynocentric Campus regulations…

  • S.T.

    How ’bout you take your fascist garbage to an appropriate site?

  • Guest12

    Appreciate your comment, but yea, I’m not touching that one.

  • Applebite

    That’s understandable. It’s quite the sensitive topic…

  • Applebite

    What/ You’re feeling triggered over seeing the truth? Do I need to present proof to you about what’s going on?

  • Wordsworth_from_Wadsworth

    The NFL should establish published benchmarks for techniques and conditioning for the players in the CFL. It’s a good league, a well organized league. They also should have a communication system between CFL coaches and NFL scouts. There are approximately 180 import players in the CFL. More should be done to place marginal NFL talent or younger players in the CFL for development In the past this has been frowned upon because 1) the CFL wants to retains its players, and 2) the CFL does not want to be seen as a minor league. But if a contract is a contract for the football season, then there should be no problem. Also, the CFL is looking for revenue.

  • S.T.

    No, you need to drag your alternative facts to a different sandbox. See, people come here to talk about the Steelers, not listen to the rantings of lunatics.

  • Terrible Towlie

    if you got a 53 man roster, then why cant you use all 53? that a rule to do away with, and I’d be all for expanded rosters ….especially now when a player can be taken away from you for getting his bell rung…. get better helmets, like the dude from Buffalo had (Kelso?) it had an extra shell on top of a regular helmet with shock absorbers