As a side note, the NFL agreed to expand the practice squad by 2 players per team. I'm happy to see this but wish it would've been even more. I think NFL teams should have much bigger rosters than they do (maybe a 50-man active roster, which allows a full 2-deep to be dressed on gameday plus a handful of specialists (K/P/LS) and a few extra WR's or DB's, and then a 15-man practice squad). The bigger practice squad would allow for better development of young players and result in fewer situations where a team is signing a guy in the middle of a playoff run who wasn't even on the roster in September and then starting him the next Sunday because they're desperately short at Position X.
Yeah, but this would cost the billionaire owners more money and would take away some of the story lines and intrigues that the game thrives on week to week. I think the NFL should have a complete farm system. If ever there was a sport that needed a true, if small, farm system it is football. One team per NFL team, exclusive players signed to that team. Imagine how much better the product would be if you could actually develop players for a year or two. Maybe not running backs with short lifespans, but qbs, linemen, and defenders. A drafted receiver most likely doesn't come into his own in the NFL until year 3. Gee, how much better a product would we have if you actually could take years 1 and 2 into a developmental league?
Ridiculous considering the amount of money spend. You can't tell me that if you ran a developmental league from late spring to mid fall that it wouldn't work? People would rather watch baseball? No way. Lots of cities that would kill for it and it would be perfect in 20-40,000 seat stadiums. College football might not like it, but you could stay away from a few key cities and be just fine. Especially if you did mid-week games. Tuesday and Wednesday nights or something like that. You'd have limited sports competition in the summer, MLB and MLS?, and while there is competition in the fall by then the season would be wrapping up.
Sure you couldn't have the guys in your pre-season camp, but they'd be in mid-season form when the NFL teams opened. If the minor league teams had the same philosophy as the NFL teams it would work fine. I think the NFL is stupid for not having done this years ago, but since they have a very weak, but completely free, farm system in D1, that probably trumps investing the start up costs.