Alt-Football media is in full swing. Between the XFL Draft, USFL team movement, and the CFL wrapping up with the Argos taking the Grey Cup. One CFL Star has begun his prep for the next step in his career.
Most recently Rourke worked out with Raiders beginning a long string of workouts that include Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Denver, and Minnesota next on the list. But is the best move for Rourke to go straight to the NFL at this very moment?
Rourke is definitely a professional QB and many people who follow the CFL think he can play at the highest level, however, is that his best career move? The possibility of Rourke coming in and automatically becoming QB1 at any NFL franchise is pretty far fetch. Rourke, who was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian in 2022 and was in the running for Most Outstanding Player until a foot injury and surgery sidetracked his breakout season.
For him to join an NFL team, one would think that it’d have to be a pretty advantageous situation for him to actually carve out a legitimate and lengthy NFL career.
Despite the plethora of NFL opportunity would it be wise for Rourke to try his hand at the XFL and be QB1 right off the bat? Rourke could easily start for over half the XFL teams coming into camp, and I believe could beat out anyone on an XFL roster barring injury.
While bias towards Canadian players has soften over the last couple years it’s been a while since we’ve seen a QB from the CFL take consistent snaps in the NFL, however, we’ve seen plenty of QBs start games from the XFL (1.0/2.0) and the AAF in the past twenty years.
With that information in mind the transition from XFL to NFL seems to be a bit less convoluted than CFL to NFL.
Financials could also benefit Rourke as well. If Rourke signs with the NFL in a futures deal, he may only garner approx. $207,000, if he goes to the XFL it’s possible the former Lion could garner a deal close to $500,000 if the XFL honors some of its 2.0 metrics for QBs.
Rourke not only could bring his skill set to the XFL, but a Canadian market that would champion a son of Ontario as he dominated in the spring of 2023. For Rourke fiscally he’ll have a chance to prove himself in hope of guaranteeing a long-term deal (like the USFL‘s KaVontae Turpin’s 3-year deal with the Cowboys) and would only expand the market where he has an opportunity to go into NFL training camp as a QB2.
Life of a QB3/Futures QB is hard (See Kyle Sloter), and even though Rourke may earn an NFL contract it’s not a guaranteed he’ll be a part of an NFL team’s long-term plans so another year to solidify his QB skills in the “American” game could benefit him.
Rourke has had a cup of tea in the NFL before briefly having a stint with the Giants in 2021, but mainly being worked out as a Wide Receiver. For Rourke to come into the XFL and put together 10 great regular season performances may go a long a way for NFL scouts who could be hesitant towards a CFL QB.
Overall, I think there is little doubt that Rourke will not succeed wherever he goes. While I think we all would love to see Rourke join an NFL squad I think CFL fans and fans of football would rather see him actually on the field no matter what level he’s at.
For Rourke joining the XFL to continue to garner reps, make a bit of money, and fine tune his skill set seems extremely likely in the XFL rather than live in practice squad/QB3 anonymity in which sometimes skill sets don’t matter, and it becomes a number game.
Rourke deserves to play and right now the XFL is the best bet to increase his position to be solidified QB2 in the NFL. While many fans of the CFL know of Warren Moon and Doug Flutie using Canada to prompt themselves into starting roles in the NFL, the recent history of Garrett Gilbert, Logan Woodside, Josh Johnson, John Wolford, PJ Walker, Ryan Willis, and of course Taylor Heinicke all bode better results for QBs making the jump from spring league to NFL QB2.
Like I’ve stated I’m sure Rourke will succeed no matter where he’s at however for the sake of the league, and maybe a tad bit of XFL fanboy bias, seeing the former B.C. Lion would be an amazing treat for fans of football and bring a bit of entourage from the great white north.
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