The Alliance of American Football (AAF) showed promise, early on, but ultimately was done-in by its lack of a coherent financial plan – at least, a long term version.
The league had hoped to become a feeder league for the NFL, providing players an opportunity to play their way onto NFL rosters. Even though the league has failed to remain solvent, it has given some players another opportunity to make an NFL team.
The 49ers are one of those teams who decided to take a flyer on an AAF standout, signing defensive lineman Damontre Moore to a one-year contract. Moore, who comes over from the AAF's San Diego Fleet, performed well in his stint in the Alliance. The former-Texas A&M Aggie recorded 22 tackles, seven sacks, and one recovered fumble for San Diego.
Moore joins several key AAF players whose level of play vaulted them into positions on NFL depth charts. Sports Illustrated has a breakdown of all of those making the jump to the "big league" thus far:
• Damontre Moore, San Diego Fleet (DL): Signed with San Francisco (Adam Schefter, ESPN)
• Keith Reaser, Orlando Apollos (CB): Signed with Kansas City Chiefs (Adam Schefter, ESPN)
• Rashad Ross, Arizona Hotshots (WR): Signed with Carolina Panthers (Adam Schefter, ESPN)
• Garrett Gilbert, Orlando Apollos (QB): Signed with Cleveland Browns (Team announcement)
• Derron Smith, San Antonio Commanders (Safety): Signed with Minnesota Vikings (Team announcement)
• Duke Thomas, San Antonio Commanders (CB): Signed with Minnesota Vikings (Team announcement)
While Damontre Moore is new to the 49ers, he is no stranger to the National Football League. In fact, he was selected by the New York Giants in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Moore actually appeared in two games with the cross-Bay rival Oakland Raiders in 2018, at the end of the season. ESPN reports that "Moore has played in 54 NFL games in his career, notching 63 tackles, 10 sacks, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles."
He will most likely slot in as extended D-line depth for a San Francisco 49er team that is already pretty well loaded at that position. In this day and age, however, it seems as though teams can never have enough defensive lineman on their roster. Injuries tend to ravage interior lineman on both sides of the ball. On the defensive side of the trenches, having multiple players who can be deployed in a rotation, is particularly advantageous. Offenses are built to wear down defensive lines, these days, so that the effectiveness of the opponent's pass rush can be neutralized.
Moore is certainly not a "big splash" acquisition. Who knows how much he will impact the 2019 season; he may not even see the field, at all. What we do know is that he is getting a second chance at sticking on an NFL roster, and the reason that is a reality is because the American Alliance of Football gave him a platform to prove his value. With WWE majority owner, chairman, and CEO Vince McMahon set to take another run at making the XFL a successful venture, perhaps more overlooked guys will get a shot to achieve their dreams and land a roster spot with an NFL franchise.