The Alliance of American Football ended prematurely, and with it the contracts of hundreds of players signed with the league’s eight franchises. There is a lot of ugliness still left to clean up, much of which it is still yet unclear who will ultimately be responsible for.
But for at least a select few AAF alumni, they have already gotten the opportunity to move on to what is their ultimate goal, which is to make it to the NFL—or back to the NFL, as the case may be. For now, at least, they only have a spot on the 90-man roster, but that’s a foot in the door most of them otherwise wouldn’t have had.
By my count, there are 15 AAF players to date who have signed or will sign a contract with an NFL team, not including the many more players who are scheduled to hold workouts with NFL teams. That’s not too bad considering that teams have only had permission to do so for the past 48 hours or thereabout.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have been among the most active teams in picking up the pieces from the false-start league, signing two players who participated in games for their affiliate AAF team, the Birmingham Iron, both of whom were among the top players at their positions in the league.
As we brought to you yesterday, those two players are interior offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer, who played center for the Iron in five games, and defensive back Jack Tocho, who primarily played safety, but he also saw a good amount of work moving into the slot.
The Carolina Panthers have signed four players so far, starting with wide receiver Rashad Ross, who along with Charles Johnson were the best players at that position in the AAF. He led the league with seven touchdown receptions.
Yesterday, they signed three offensive linemen, Brandon Greene, Parker Collins, and Kitt O’Brien. Collins was a member of the Steelers last season but was waived with an injury suffered during the first preseason game.
The Minnesota Vikings also signed two players, including Derron Smith, a former sixth-round draft pick. He was one of the top safeties in the AAF with the San Antonio Commanders. The Vikings also signed his Commanders teammate, a cornerback, who intercepted one pass and recorded four breakups.
Perhaps the biggest name to sign was Orlando Apollos quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who was the best in the AAF. He will be playing for the Cleveland Browns. Also signed were cornerback De’Vante Bausby to the Denver Broncos, edge Andrew Ankrah to the Washington Redskins, top cornerback Keith Reaser to the Kansas City Chiefs, lineman Michael Dunn to the Miami Dolphins, defensive end Alex Barrett to the Oakland Raiders, and defensive end Damontre Moore to the San Francisco 49ers.
That’s 10 different NFL teams so far who have dipped their toes into the AAF talent pool within the first 48 hours, not to mention the many workouts that will be taking place in the coming days.