As we enter week 3 of the Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season, to say the fan and community support of the Birmingham Iron has exceeded expectations would be an understatement. With each passing day on social media, I continue to see new fans jumping on board and they are all asking the same questions we were asking just a few months ago. Is there a draft? Where do we get our players? Are these players under contract? What are coaching salaries? The list goes on and on. Hopefully, I can answer a few of those questions for you as we get ready for our first away game of the year against the Atlanta Legends.
Question: “Is there a draft?”
Answer: Not your typical draft that you see in the NFL. There is a “Protect or Pick” QB draft. Any quarterback already signed to the Alliance is eligible to be selected in the draft, which uses a “Protect or Pick” format. All signed quarterbacks are also allocated to the team located closest to their college or last NFL or CFL team before the draft. The “Protect or Pick” method allows each team to either protect one quarterback that’s already been allocated or choose to draft another one. If a team elects to protect, they name the player they are protecting as their first selection in the draft, but if they decide to pick, they wait until every other team has made their decision before selecting from the remaining pool of all available quarterbacks. The Birmingham Iron used their first pick to draft QB Luis Perez out of Texas A&M Commerce.
For the remainder of the roster, each team in the AAF is assigned a set of regional colleges from which it has the first choice of signing players. Each team also has affiliations with teams in the NFL and CFL. For the Birmingham Iron, those colleges are Auburn, Alabama, UAB, South Alabama, Troy, Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Jacksonville State, Samford, Miles, North Alabama, Tuskegee, West Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Maryland, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina State and South Carolina. The Iron’s NFL affiliated teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots. Birmingham’s CFL affiliated teams are the Montreal Alouettes and Ottawa Redblacks.
Question: “Are players under contract?”
Answer: Players receive 3 year, non-guaranteed, contracts worth $250,000 and health insurance. There are also escape clauses built in to allow players to advance to the NFL. In addition, the AAF has a bonus incentive plan built in for performance and fan interaction. Players may also earn a 1 year scholarship in post secondary education for each season played.
Question: “What are the coaching salaries?”
Answer: Based upon my understanding, the approximate salary ranges are:
Head Coaches $500,000
Offensive Coordinators $200,000 – $250,000 Defensive Coordinators $200,000 – $250,000
Position Coaches $75,000 – $150,000
While the AAF is not an official farm / developmental league for the NFL, it is a “complimentary” league by way of providing showcase opportunities to not only players, but coaches and officials alike.
In the first two weeks of this inaugural season, our Birmingham Iron has taken advantage of those opportunities to showcase their playing skills and coaching talents. They have definitely made us proud in the Iron City. Now, let’s take this show on the road to the ATL and get win number three!