NFL head of football operations Troy Vincent mentioned that his department is prepared to make recommendations for a developmental league or in-season academy next year after they have spent years studying the matter.
The formal process will begin with Vincent presenting his findings to the Competition Committee, coaches and NFLPA after the season.
“We are ready to socialize our findings to the respective committees at the Pro Bowl, Senior Bowl and combine,” Vincent said.
According to Jason La Canfora, the idea of a developmental league has gained some momentum this year, as there are numerous owners and prominent coaches who support the idea. La Canfora lists Seahawks GM John Schneider, Colts GM Ryan Grigson, and former Giants HC Tom Coughlin as some notable people who have worked with Vincent regarding the idea.
Vincent believes NFL owners would be willing to contribute a considerable per-team investment to get the league off of the ground.
One idea could be a spring league that’s made up of players with three years or less of NFL experience. However, La Canfora points out that this league would require substantial negotiations with the NFLPA, who have yet to have any formal meetings with the NFL.
Vincent has also done work on an in-season academy that would train players not under contract who get workouts and jobs through the season. There’s also the possibility that there could be multiple in-season academies.
“We have some viable potential options that are ready to share with the Competition Committee, the Coaches Subcommittee and with some of our active and former players,” Vincent said. “Our goal is to create a platform that addresses the entire football community — coaches, officials, front office personnel and players — is essential to the long-term sustainability of our game.”
La Canfora points out that a developmental league could help to improve the quality of the game, particularly at quarterback and offensive line. There’s also the additional work for referees, who have been criticized throughout the year.
We’ll have more regarding a potential developmental league as the news is available.