Alliance Of American Football

Latest On Birmingham, San Antonio AAF Franchises

Last year, then-Eagles executive Trey Brown interviewed for the Bills’ GM job. Last month, however, Brown was no longer listed on the Eagles’ front office roster.

Now, the experienced scouting exec will latch on with an Alliance of American Football Franchise. The 33-year-old Brown will be part of the AAF’s Birmingham franchise, serving in its front office, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports (on Twitter).

Additionally, the Birmingham franchise will hire former Giants and Steelers defensive coordinator Tim Lewis as its first head coach, per Marvez. Lewis’ most recent NFL job was 49ers DBs coach in 2015. Former Browns, Panthers and Bills OC Joe Pendry will also serve as a Birmingham exec, Marvez reports.

As for the San Antonio franchise, former Cowboys fullback and current Fox analyst Daryl Johnston is expected to be named GM, Marvez tweets. Former Chargers head coach Mike Riley is expected to be the San Antonio HC.

Brown spent eight seasons as an NFL scout/exec, breaking into the league with the Patriots in 2010 and spending five years with the Eagles. He earned multiple promotions, one involving a climb to the post of Eagles director of college scouting in 2016, and was viewed as a rising star in the executive ranks. This led to the Bills interviewing him for the GM job that went to Brandon Beane.

Lewis interviewed to become the Redskins’ secondary coach in 2017 and the Cowboys’ DBs boss in 2016. The 56-year-old coach spent nine seasons on Bill Cowher‘s staffs from 1995-03 and was Tom Coughlin‘s first DC with the Giants.

The Chargers’ HC from 1999-01, Riley just recently accepted a job as an assistant head coach at Oregon State. He served as the Beavers’ HC from 2003-14 before serving as Nebraska’s head coach for three seasons. His last NFL gig came as a Saints assistant in 2002. Pendry’s previous pro coaching gig came as Texans offensive line coach in the 2000s.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: AAF, Dolphins, Ray, Broncos

The Alliance of American Football is set to debut this winter. While the league is expected to provide an alternative for NFL fans, founder Charlie Ebersol said they aren’t intending to put their counterpart out of business.

“It’s a positive relationship,” Ebersol told Mike Florio of “One of the reasons that we made the contract the way we do for the players where they have an out to go to back to the NFL is because we recognize the fact just like the MLS recognizes the fact that the Premier League is ultimately gonna pay players more and put them on a bigger stage than the MLS will. They support that. We support the same concepts. I think that it’s a foolish to try to pick a fight with a $150 billion business when you’re starting up and when you’re also not competing. I mean none of my content touches any of their content. Ultimately, it’s a complementary, positive relationship.”

Ebersol touched on several additional points during the interview, including the ability for players to switch to the NFL should they receive an offer.

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the NFL…

  • Dolphins second-round tight end Mike Gesicki has yet to impress during the media portions of practices. While the Penn State product clearly has some work to do, it sounds like Miami’s coaching staff is optimistic about the prospect’s future in the NFL. “Mike is a little bit unique,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains told Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald. “[Durham Smythe] is a ‘Y’ and Mike G is more of a … We’ve got to find out exactly what he can and can’t do and what he can and can’t handle early. As the season goes and the offseason goes and training camp, his package will expand and his routes will expand as we found out what he can and can’t do.” To start the season, Gesicki is expected to backup A.J. Derby.
  • Beasley writes that filling Ndamukong Suh‘s role is easier said than done. However, several Dolphins players could be ready for the challenge, and the writer specifically points to 2017 third-rounder Vincent Taylor. “It’s hard losing a guy like Suh just knowing what he’s capable of doing; but at the end of the day, it’s a business decision,” Taylor said. “I know all of the things when I was coming in, what he taught me, so I learned some of the things that he taught me.”
  • The Broncos declined to pick up Shane Ray‘s fifth-year option. As a result, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post believes the injured linebacker should take as long as he needs to recover from wrist surgery. The writer explains that returning early and re-aggravating the injury could hurt Ray’s market value. However, if the linebacker is productive and healthy in a lesser playing sample, he still might be able to secure a lucrative contract. The 2015 first-rounder had a disappointing season in 2017, compiling only 16 tackles and one sack in eight games (seven starts).
  • O’Halloran also observes that Broncos tight end Jake Butt has been an offensive standout during practices. “It’s our responsibility as tight ends and slot (receivers) to win one-on-one match-ups on the inside,” he said. “We’ve got to make plays when our number is called to take a little bit of pressure off those guys (Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders) on the outside.” Butt could end up with the starting gig in Denver, but he’ll have to compete with a grouping that includes Jeff Heuerman and Troy Fumagalli.

Johnny Manziel Weighing Options

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL would like to sign Johnny Manziel, but the former Browns standout has reservations about going north of the border. Specifically, Manziel is wary of the CFL’s policy that players must commit for two seasons. With that in mind, Manziel is also considering the upstart Alliance of American Football, Mike Florio of PFT hears. 

[RELATED: AAF To Launch In February 2019]

Manziel is reportedly willing to accept a practice squad deal with no guaranteed money to prove that he belongs in the NFL, but it’s not clear if any teams are interested at this time. It’s possible that teams could give more serious thought to signing Manziel once they start releasing players, including undrafted free agents that aren’t up to par, from the 90-man roster.

The former Heisman Trophy winner would probably draw some serious dollars for the Tiger-Cats and the CFL as a whole, so it’s conceivable that the league could amend its policy to accommodate him. Meanwhile, the Tiger-Cats made a trade with the Montreal Alouettes this week that could give them the cap space necessary to give Manziel a contract worth more than the league minimum.

The AAF will launch in February 2019 – just after the Super Bowl – so Manziel will have to wait a while if that’s the route he plans to take.


Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Alliance Of American Football To Launch In 2019

WWE boss Vince McMahon is planning to re-launch the XFL in 2020, but he’ll have some serious competition in his bid to become the nation’s top competitor to the NFL. Charlie Ebersol, who directed a documentary on the XFL last year, has founded the Alliance of American Football, a league that will debut on Feb. 9, 2019. 

Unlike the XFL, Ebersol’s league already has a television deal in place. The league’s first game and championship games will air on CBS, while the CBS Sports Network will carry one game per week. Other games will be available via the AAF’s app.

The league, which will host its first game one week after Super Bowl LIII, will have a 10-week season and 50-man rosters. The players will be cast from the NFL’s scraps, meaning that it can be a way for those on the fringes of the league to showcase themselves for 90-man roster spots in the NFL.

Former NFL GM Bill Polian and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu are involved in the operations side while former NFL players Hines Ward and Justin Tuck will serve as advisors. Charlie’s father, famed television producer and former XFL partner Dick Ebersol will also serve on the advisory board.

Many football leagues have come and gone over the years, but the younger Ebersol says that he is taking a long-term approach.

I think where businesses like this fail is that they expect to have ludicrous and unrealistic ticket and media deal projections in Year 1,” Ebersol said. “Our investors here understand that it’s a seven- to 10-year plan.”