Tomasi Laulile

Extra Points: XFL, AAF, Saints

The new XFL is confident that it can succeed, in large part because of its willingness to take on players who are not yet eligible for the NFL Draft, as ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert writes. Players who are forced to wait three years until after leaving high school could jump to Vince McMahon‘s football experiment 2.0 to jumpstart their professional career rather than play for free in college while risking injury.

XFL commissioner Oliver Luck estimates that his league will feature somewhere between five and 15 of these players in 2020. To establish a pipeline of young talent, he hopes to work in concert with the NCAA.

The NCAA would have a pretty good argument,” Luck said, “to be able to say, ‘Hey, you don’t have to go to college to play professional football in the NFL.’ You could spend a year in college and then go to the XFL, and then in a couple of years you could be in the NFL that way.”

From a business perspective, it would be a major boon – the XFL could add players who already have a fan base at a fraction of what they’ll earn at the NFL level. In fact, establishing this pipeline could be the XFL’s only real path to success. Otherwise, the league will have to draw from the outer fringes of the football world to fill out its rosters, which could make it tough for the league to keep fan interest in the long run.

Here’s more from the world of football:

  • Speaking of alternative football leagues, Seth Wickersham and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com took a deep dive into the short-lived Alliance of American Football. The AAF crumbled in the midst of its inaugural season when new investor Tom Dundon decided that the league did not have a path to profitability. As Wickersham and Rothstein write in their must-read investigative piece, the ambitious spring league lacked a common vision among its key figures, resulting in a mess of damaged reputations, bankruptcy, and lawsuits.
  • Free agent defensive tackle Tomasi Laulile, who was on the Saints‘ practice squad last season, has been suspended by the NFL for the first two games of the season, veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. Laulile re-signed with the club on a reserve/future contract in January, but was waived on May 13.

More Minor NFL Transactions: 5/13/19

Here’s the latest round of minor moves from around the NFL (for this morning’s minor moves, click here):

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • Claimed off waivers: DB Mike Tyson (from Texans)

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Saints Sign Six Players To Futures Deals

The Saints’ season is officially in the books, which means that it’s on to the offseason for New Orleans. To kick things off, the Saints signed the following six practice squad players to reserve/futures deals:

Barrett has been jockeyed on and off of the Saints’ practice squad all year. Over the weekend, Barrett was signed to the Saints’ taxi squad for the 13th time this season. In total, he was involved in a whopping 25 transactions during the 2018 campaign and was released 12 times. Barrett frequently switched placed with wide receiver Paul Turner, but there’s no word yet on whether Turner will be retained via a futures contract.

Sankey, 25 in October, appeared in six games for the Colts last season. This year, he did not see live action for the Saints, but he was on the scout team for most of the year.

Wozniak, a tight end at the University of Minnesota, was signed as a UDFA last year. The Saints moved the 6’10” prospect over to offensive tackle and they’re hoping he’ll be able to use his size and length to his advantage.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/27/18

Today’s practice squad updates:

Chicago Bears

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Released: CB Jeff Richards

NFL Workout Updates: 9/4/18

Today’s workout updates:

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

New York Jets

Colts Cut Austin Howard, Reach 53-Man Roster

The Colts are at the 53-man roster max after making a bundle of transactions, including the release of offensive tackle Austin Howard.

[RELATED: Colts Cut John Simon]

The Colts invested $1.3MM guaranteed in Howard, but he was medically cleared until late July and struggled in camp and during the preseason. The Colts dangled him in trade talks this week, but there were no takers for him.

Despite his issues this summer, Howard had a solid 2017 with the Ravens and graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 36 offensive tackle. If healthy, he could draw interest from other teams.

The Colts also placed defensive end Chris McCain, linebacker Jeremiah George, defensive end Anthony Johnson, and tight end Ross Travis on injured reserve.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Colts’ moves:

Waived:

Last year, Bond ascended to the starting center job when Ryan Kelly broke his foot late in training camp. Unfortunately, a torn quad landed him on IR in October. This year, he’ll be looking for work elsewhere.

Alie-Cox was a former basketball player looking to transition to tight end. Although Antonio Gates and others have successfully made the jump, Alie-Cox has yet to find similar success.

In addition to the aforementioned moves, the Colts also waived the following players with an injury designation. If they clear waivers, then they revert to the Colts’ Injured Reserve list:

Colts Sign 10 UDFAs

The Colts announced the signing of the following ten undrafted free agents:

  • Michael Badgley, K (Miami)
  • Chris Cooper, S (Stony Brook)
  • Lashard Durr, CB (Mississippi State)
  • Steve Ishmael, WR (Syracuse)
  • Robert Jackson, CB (UNLV)
  • Tomasi Laulile, DT (BYU)
  • Skai Moore, LB (South Carolina)
  • George Odum, S (Central Arkansas)
  • William Ossai, LB (San Jose State)
  • Henre’ Toliver, CB (Arkansas)

Moore, who seemed likely to be taken during Day 3 of the draft, is the biggest name in this group. Moore led his team in tackles in all four of his seasons (interrupted by a medical redshirt year to rehab from a herniated disk in 2016), but evaluators worried about his lack of size and speed. The slim 6’2″ linebacker will now try to catch on as a reserve behind starters John Simon, Antonio Morrison, and Najee Goode.

The Colts seem well set at kicker with Adam Vinatieri under contract for another season, but Badgley will try to give him a run for his money. At The U, Badgley connected on 79.4% of his field goal tries, including a career-long 57-yarder in 2015.

To help make room for the UDFAs, the Colts released a number of players on Tuesday morning, including running back Matt Jones.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.