AAF players 'authorized' to sign with NFL teams, suspended league announces

With the writing on the wall, the Alliance of American Football is allowing its players to sign with NFL teams, the upstart league announced Thursday.

This counters previous reports that the AAF wasn’t allowing its players to talk to NFL teams at all by sending a memo to the NFL telling the organization not to contact AAF members. Some argue that the AAF players already were free to sign with NFL teams because when the AAF suspended operations it did so in breach of its contracts with the players, rendering them free agents immediately.

Legal arguments aside, NFL teams now will be allowed to sift through names on the eight AAF rosters and determine if they want to contact players for potential meetings and workouts.

While the AAF has suspended operations, it hasn’t officially folded or canceled its season, which is why the memo reportedly was sent out.

With the AAF players allowed to sign with NFL teams, it appears as if it is only  a matter of time before the suspended league folds.

Tuesday’s decision to suspend operations shocked AAF players and coaches alike, especially since there were just two weeks left in the season. Some of the teams decided to throw in the towel altogether and send coaches and players home (albeit reportedly without paying their way after opting not to keep housing them in hotels during the “indefinite” suspension).

Now that AAF players and NFL personnel can be in contact, there might be some NFL teams willing to take a flyer on the best out of the AAF, at least in the form of meetings or workouts.

The AAF was created with the hope of being a farm system to the NFL. AAF officials were trying to clear the way with the NFL Players Association to be able to borrow third- and fourth-string players from NFL rosters to give them playing time and experience, but there reportedly was pushback from the NFLPA about allowing that to happen.