While the XFL is freeing up players to pursue contracts in other leagues like the NFL and CFL while still paying their salaries, but players looking to participate in fall leagues just hit a temporary hold on their path.
According to PFT;
A memo distributed to all NFL teams on Tuesday, a copy of which PFT obtained, explains that teams were notified on March 12 “that they were not permitted to discuss possible employment with players under contract to the XFL,” and that this “prohibition remains in effect.” The memo also explains that the NFL currently is working with the XFL to finalize procedures to permit NFL teams to sign XFL players.Pro Football Talk
The NFL wants to bring their talent into the fold and are thus negotiating with the XFL to formalize signings and iron out the details of such. While signings are currently on hold, it’s likely that both sides will come to an agreement soon, just in time for the latter stages of free agency.
I just did a breakdown of potential XFL-NFL moves and there are a few potential marquee signings, which will likely be followed by more moves as teams fill out their training camp rosters as we saw with the AAF last year.
Hopefully, these players will get their opportunities soon, but the biggest issue that needs to be sorted is who will retain the rights to these players. As of right now, the XFL is allowing players to seek “credible contractual offers”, and they may return to the XFL at any time. The NFL likely wants to ensure that the XFL won’t take players from their practice squads and waiver wires.
The most realistic solution would be for each respective league to hold these players’ rights until their seasons’ end, at which point freedom of movement should be possible.
The XFL has blocked signings of quarterbacks to the Steelers and Lions this year, and while a USFL-esque bidding war is not likely, this situation is certainly one to keep an eye on. The NFL and Roger Goodell have expressed support for the new league, but they can hardly be blamed for wanting to secure their own product.
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