For the signing players it is, above and beyond all, a chance. It is a chance to show their skills . . .
Of course, the door might not open to a spot on the opening day roster. It very well could end up with the UFA signing a practice squad contract.
At first glance, practice squad money seems decent, if not more. The minimum in 2018 was $7,600 per week ($129,200 for a season). Some teams might pay more if they are trying to hang onto a player they feel has significant potential in their system.
Security, however, is a big issue and the road can be taxing in a number of ways, as an SBNation article by Natalie Weiner illustrates (CLICK HERE).
Nine MAC players got draft calls this week, but among those not getting selected was Tyree Jackson. He started at QB for the Buffalo Bulls in last year’s MAC title game and elected to forego his senior season to enter the NFL. Opinions on his skill set, readiness and potential varied. Few, however, thought that he would go undrafted altogether.
And yet that is exactly what happened. Unable to resume his collegiate career as a Buffalo Bull, he has signed as a UFA with the Buffalo Bills. Charles Robinson, who covers the NFL for Yahoo Sports, recently used Jackson’s situation to illustrate his opinion on the NCAA’s underclassmen eligibility rule (as related to the NFL draft).
(NOTE: According to a tweet by Max Olson of TheAthletic.com, 49 of 144 underclassmen to enter the NFL draft went undrafted. (SEE LIST)
You can read that article HERE. But Robinson essentially lamented a system in which a football player who went undrafted could not return to school. It is a tough break - whether it is Jackson or somebody else. But the solutions are not simple.
It is fashionable to denounce the NCAA for anything and everything these days. Much of the outrage, however, seems to ignore or dismiss realities that complicate matters.
I can say this … life is full of decisions. We can’t make the right choice every time and I know I’ve gone the wrong way on some biggies. You move on!
Jackson knows the hand he now holds. Hopefully, he can turn it into a winner. For that matter, good luck to all those UFAs as they chase their dreams