The idea at first glance seems very far fetched. Why would a rookie think about skipping the NFL Draft for the XFL? Based on the statistics, it might not be as far fetched as you think.
Whether the player is drafted in the 5th round or the 1st round. We look at why a successful XFL could disrupt the powerful NFL money machine. Potentially changing the way we know the draft and pro football forever.
A Look At The Data
Thanks to Mile High Report for the data breakdown. The rows represent the round the player was drafted in. The columns show what percentage of players who were on the team after that specific year. Based on the data, it looks like if you were drafted in the 1st to the 4th round, you have a good shot at sticking with your team for 3 years.
But look at what happens if you are drafted in the 5th to 7th rounds. The likely hood that you are with your team after year one is 50/50. It even gets worse as we go to year two and three of the rookie contract.
The Rookie Contract
In the NFL all rookie contracts are for four years with a signing bonus. You can see the break down for later rounds thanks to heavy.com.
A rookie 5th round pick’s contract could be worth up to 2.8 million over four years, with a signing bonus of $250,000. That breaks down to roughly $600,000 per year. So getting drafted in the 5th round of the NFL draft will get you $850,000. Which is great for one year worth of work.
The XFL Draft Effect
At XFL News Hub, we like to call the late round Saturday part of NFL draft day, XFL draft day. There is a high chance half of these players will be eligible for next years XFL draft. They just got cut, they are young and not ready to give up on their dreams. They will look towards the XFL for a chance at redemption.
But this brings up a question. Is it worth even getting drafted in the NFL in the first place if you are not picked in the top 4 rounds?
The 22-year-old Player
Let’s look at a 22-year-old entering the NFL draft. The average length of a pro football career we said is three years. If you get selected in the 5th round and cut after one year. He made $850,000 as seen above.
At 23 years old, still chasing his dreams, he enters the XFL. Plays two years and is actually seen on the field rather than on an NFL bench or practice squad. Let’s say it takes two years of playing in the XFL to get a potential new NFL contract. Playing pro football for a total of three years. Yet in year four he is getting a brand new NFL contract. Unlike his other 5th round draft class who are, if they are one of the few to last that long, getting their 4th-year option picked up on their rookie deal.
At 25 he goes back into the NFL with a brand new two-year contract with a signing bonus. We assume far better than his rookie contract this time around and more than the 2.8 million he would have lucky to make in the first place. He is a known commodity now with pro football game tape, young at 26 and teams are willing to pay for him.
The new contract is much better than if he had stayed with the NFL as a 5th round draft pick. He in effect leaves the NFL, releasing himself of his rookie contract, then goes back into the NFL a few years later for more money.
I hope you are still following me.
What If Kyler Murry Went Straight To The XFL
What if we go big and say Kyler Murry the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft. He skips in NFL draft altogether and plays with the XFL for one year. In effect, he would be a free agent after one year and be able to sign with any team at any price. No rookie cap restrictions! Like Bo Jackson did, right?
Draft rules have changed since then. It is not possible to “skip” the NFL draft for the purpose of a bigger contract and choosing where to play. That is not permitted under the agreement negotiated between the NFL and NFLPA. If you go play in the XFL, the team that originally drafted in the NFL owns your rights for three years and thereafter has a right of first refusal to sign you.
During the next collective bargain negotiations would the NFLPA seek to changes these rules? Probably not since veteran players were upset that rookies were making more money then them. See JaMarcus Russell. But a powerful XFL and the NFLPA, who is looking to maximize players salaries, could pose a problem for NFL owners. Looking to change the rules around the NFL draft requirements.
Do you see how disruptive the XFL could be?
The XFL could decimate the NFL’s rookie salary cap structure. Throw in non- NFL draft-eligible players going to the XFL on top of that. Those type of players would in effect be free agents and not part of any draft. Think Trevor Lawrence QB for the national champion Clemson Tigers.
The idea here is that at some point in the next 3 to 5 years it might not be worth getting drafted in the NFL at all. If you are picked in the 5th through 7th rounds. You might be better off heading to the XFL, to maximize the amount of money for your whole pro football career. With these facts, along with a potential NFL strike in 2021, things in the pro football landscape could change quickly.
Leave your thoughts in the comments. Are we totally of base or bring up a good point? Could you see this happening?
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