UFL softens its NFL exemption

Though the standard UFL player contract that we received last month explains that any player who applies his Herbie Hancock to the document cannot sign with an NFL team before November 28.

But a source with knowledge of the situation tells us that, last week, the UFL softened its stance, permitting anyone who signs a deal before August 1 to leave for the NFL before August 1.  [Editor’s note:  We previously were under the impression that players who sign with the UFL before August 1 may leave at any point before the end of the UFL season.  UFL spokesman Rachel Gary has clarified the rule.  We apologize for the previous error.]

In our view, this is the first baby step toward making the UFL into a true in-season minor league for the NFL, with players being called up from (and, in time, sent down to) affiliated UFL franchises.

With only four teams for its first season, it’ll take a while before the UFL can become a genuine minor league.  But the UFL has the right idea — if it can find a way to complement and help the NFL, the UFL has a chance to succeed.