The NFL has signed numerous AAF players since the short-lived league suspended operations
The Alliance of American Football (AAF) may have come and gone but its players are not done playing. Since the AAF announced it was suspending operations, many former players have signed with NFL teams. Whether any of these players will make the final 53-man roster at the end of training camp remains to be seen, but all the former AAF guys are hoping for is a shot.
Besides those that have already signed, more AAF players will likely get an invite to minicamp or training camp as more roster shuffling will take place whether that be due to the upcoming draft, injuries or other personnel-related decisions. With that in mind, here are some of the AAF's bigger names that have already been signed by an NFL team.
Garrett Gilbert, QB, Cleveland Browns
It could be argued that Gilbert was the biggest reason why Steve Spurrier's Orlando Apollos finished with the AAF's best record (7-1). Gilbert led the league in passing with 2,152 yards, as well as passer rating (99.1) and yards per attempt (8.3). He also finished with 13 touchdown passes in just eight games. Whether it was the deep ball, quick-strike passes, or everything else in between, AAF defenses struggled to figure Gilbert out and rarely put pressure on him (only took nine sacks).
Baker Mayfield is without a doubt the starter for Cleveland, but the backup job is there for the taking. Tyrod Taylor is no longer on the roster and Drew Stanton, who didn't see the field at all in 2018, is the only other QB on the roster. This is where Gilbert could claim the No. 2 spot on the depth chart and resume his NFL career.
Luis Perez, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Perez arrived on the pro football scene when he beat out veterans Blake Sims and Keith Price to become the starter for the Birmingham Iron. With running back Trent Richardson shouldering a good portion of the load and with a solid defense on the other side, Perez had a nice situation in Birmingham, who went 5-3 and was set to play Orlando in the playoffs. When all was said and done, Perez finished third in passing (1,461 yards) and completions (135). He displayed accuracy, good decision-making, and toughness in the pocket. Perez stuck with the Los Angeles Rams throughout the preseason last year before getting cut prior to Week 1 but he'll get another shot with Philadelphia.
Perez could be joining the Eagles at the right time. Carson Wentz is the starter but he has seen each of his last two seasons end early due to injuries. With Nick Foles now in Jacksonville that just leaves Nate Sudfeld and Perez as the only other quarterbacks on the roster right now. Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson is known for his work with quarterbacks so at the very least Perez can gain knowledge from one of the NFL's best minds.
Keith Reaser, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
This aggressive defensive back made history on two fronts when he not only grabbed the first interception in AAF history, but also scored the league's first defensive touchdown on the same play. As the AAF's eight weeks concluded Reaser was tied for the lead in defensive touchdowns (2), tied for second in interceptions (3), while also being credited with 38 total tackles. As a result, Reaser was signed by the Chiefs, with whom he was a practice squad player for back in 2017. This time, however, the situation could be different under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Will the second time be the charm for Reaser in Kansas City?
Karter Schult, DE and Greer Martini, LB, Minnesota Vikings
Both Schult and Martini are getting NFL shots after serving as the heart and soul of the Salt Lake Stallions defense. They combined for 86 tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles with the Stallions. Now both are getting another opportunity to stick in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. One of the stronger defenses in the league, Schult and Martini will have to impress to crack a depth chart that already features stalwarts like Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr, Everson Griffen, and Eric Kendricks, and that's just in the front seven. If Schult and Martini end up on the Vikings' 53-man roster prior to Week 1, they will have earned it.
Rashad Ross, WR, Carolina Panthers
One reason why John Wolford was so effective as the Arizona Hotshots quarterback is because Ross was his go-to receiver. Ross led the team with 36 catches for 583 yards and his seven touchdown catches paced the entire league. He also was fourth in the AAF with an average of 16 yards per catch, as he showed an ability to produce big plays. Now with Carolina, Ross looks to join a rotation of wideouts that needs to step up its production and doesn't feature Devin Funchess (signed with Indianapolis in free agency) anymore.
Winston Craig, DT, Pittsburgh Steelers
Craig was a solid contributor on an underrated San Antonio Commanders defense. He may have only had 14 tackles and 2.5 sacks, but his ability to plow through blockers created opportunities for his teammates. The Commanders ran a 3-4 scheme so that should ease the learning curve Craig will have in Pittsburgh as he looks to stick with the Steelers.
Kenneth Farrow, RB, Miami Dolphins
Farrow thrived in head coach Mike Riley's pro-style system with the San Antonio Commanders. Farrow would up as the AAF's second-leading rusher with 372 yards while handling the second-most carries (106) in the league as well. The Dolphins haven't had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2016, so it stands to reason that Farrow could earn a roster spot with a strong showing this summer and in training camp.
De'Vante Bausby, CB, Denver Broncos
Bausby is no stranger to the NFL, recording 26 tackles in 10 games between 2016-18 for the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles. As a starter for the San Antonio Commanders, Bausby registered 26 tackles and four interceptions to go along with a forced fumble. He performed quite well in pass coverage, which is one of the reasons why the Broncos made the decision to sign. Denver's new head coach Vic Fangio has an extensive defensive background so Bausby has landed in a great spot in that respect. Now it's up to him to make the most of the opportunity.
(Photo courtesy of AAF.com)