Spring Football League to Launch in 2017: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2016

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 27:  American footballs rest on the sideline before the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 27, 2016 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo defeats Jacksonville 28-21.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Beginning this spring, a four-team football league will launch, according to SiriusXM NFL RadioSiriusXM NFL Radio later clarified its initial tweet by noting that the spring league is not affiliated with the NFL, though it will be open to NFL scouts and personnel.

The league will consist of six games as well as team practices and run from April 5 to 26, per SiriusXM NFL Radio.

CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora provided more context for the league:

After speaking to an NFL source, Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman described it as "basically, XFL light."

The league will come in the middle of NFL draft season. The NFL Scouting Combine will end March 6, and April 27 is the first night of the 2017 draft.

Bleacher Report's Michael Felder questioned the level of talent that's likely to make up the spring-league rosters:

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In March, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith that the league ceased the veterans combine as a result of general apathy from NFL teams. The event has been repackaged as the NFL Pro Player Combine, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo (via NFL.com's Austin Knoblauch).

The NFL Pro Player Combine will be limited to players cut or released after the 2016 season, as well as those who signed their first NFL deals in 2014, 2015 or 2016.

The biggest question around a spring league—especially one without any connection to the NFL—is how it will find enough noteworthy talent to make it sustainable.

If a player remains unsigned in late April, then there's likely a good reason—be it a major injury, age, dwindling on-field returns in recent years or another explanation.

Given the timing of the spring league, general managers may not be proactively looking to bolster their rosters, either. They'll already be adding a handful of young players from the draft and signing undrafted free agents.

Anybody hoping to parlay his spring-league performance into an NFL contract will likely be disappointed.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story was based on a report that incorrectly stated the NFL would be affiliated with the league. We regret the error.