Now that we finally know all the XFL team names, colors, and logos, we again turn to potential talent to fill the rosters of all eight franchises.
Unlike the NFL, the XFL does not require athletes to be three years removed from high school to be eligible for the league. This presents an opening to lure talent away from the NFL instead of being completely dependent on backups and journeymen. Mixing in young, fresh talent would provide the league with enhanced credibility and fan interest.
XFL commissioner Oliver Luck emphasized this approach during a recent interview with Colin Cowherd:
“We’re not subject to the NFL’s eligibility rules that you have to be three years out of high school. We can sign and WILL sign college players”Oliver Luck, XFL Commissioner
College players cannot earn a salary despite creating billions for their respective schools, but an opportunity to turn pro and get weekly paychecks could be tempting enough to forfeit remaining eligibility and step onto an XFL gridiron.
A new league that comprises a mix of former NFL vets working toward another chance and raw talent filling the gap toward NFL eligibility is a niche the XFL is looking to establish. Unlike the failed USFL and the AAF’s Tom Dundon’s stubborn and foolish demand of borrowing NFL practice squad players, the XFL will attempt to be a compliment to the NFL instead of a competitor.
A prime example of enhancing the talent pool is Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence (6′-6″ 220). A starting true freshman now entering his second season, he must wait two more years to become NFL eligible despite leading his team to the national championship and Offensive MVP his freshman year. Completing 65% of his passes with 30 TD’s, 4 INT’s and 3,280 yards, he’s one of the highest QB prospects since Peyton Manning.
“He’s the most special quarterback prospect I’ve seen in all my years at Rivals.com”Mike Farrell , National Recruiting Director
What Lawrence has to decide is whether or not it’s worth the low XFL salary and risking a career-threatening injury in a startup league populated by NFL rejects and potential offensive scheme unsuited to his strengths. However, huge endorsement deals could prove mighty tempting.
Although there have been hints the XFL will loosen its resistance toward players with behavior issues like Johnny Manziel, there is no way the league will undermine the strict salary structure to maintain balance and solvency during its formative years. Colin Kaepernick’s alleged $20 million demand went nowhere.
Hall of Fame inductees Steve Young and Jim Kelly signed with the USFL for better salaries than established NFL stars. Young’s insane contract was to last 43 years until 2027 based on a flimsy annuity. The league folded after three seasons and he accepted a one-time buyout.
The NFL has rookie salary limits, preventing a budget-busting contract, although guarantees can add a lot of extra padding to the wallet. Only after proving himself can an NFL star finally cash in.
Would Lawrence be wise to remain with a championship level NCAA team surrounded by similar talent while honing his skills toward becoming a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft, or should he take the plunge (and some cash) by joining the XFL? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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