Vince McMahon has committed roughly half a billion dollars to kickstart the league. A sizable chunk of this will go to paying the players and coaches over the next three years.
The estimated salary cap for each team is hovering around $4 million, and the pay is broken down into tiers designating a player’s value. After players are selected in the Draft from October 15th-16th, teams will pay their way out to a 16-Day minicamp starting December 3rd. From this date on, players will be paid biweekly, guaranteed so long as they remain on the Active Roster or Injured Reserve.
Tier 1: $25,000-$60,000 / Game
Each team will pick one franchise player to fit in this pay scale. At $250,000-$600,000 on the season, this is competitive with the NFL minimum salaries for Rookies and Veterans. While blue-chip pass rushers or other exceptional players from the NFL could land here, I expect that tier 1 will consist mostly of QB’s. Former Oklahoma standout and Pittsburgh Steeler Landry Jones has already signed with the league, and will likely end up here.
Tier 2: $15,000-$17,500 / Game
Teams have 3 roster spots available for this level, and will likely use them to find NFL talent beyond the quarterback position. While any top-end prospects could end up here, it seems logical that high-value positions like Edge Rushers, Cornerbacks and Offensive Tackles will fill out this group.
Tier 3: $6,000-$10,000 / Game
The bulk of rosters will be filled here, as 23/45 spots consist of Tier 3 players. With annual earnings reaching into six figures, this will be particularly enticing for players coming out of college. While NCAA pay is still a hotly contested issue, the XFL has not issued eligibility requirements, so prospects looking to make a name for themselves while being paid will take a long look at the league.
Tier 4: $5,000-$6,000 / Game
The last 18 spots of each roster will be rounded out here, and it’ll be an interesting trove of football ronin. The tier 4 players will likely include specialists and backups, but don’t count them out, as unlikely stars have emerged from roster fringes countless times in football. Despite being the lowest tier, this pay grade is extremely competitive with other football leagues like the AAF and AFL.
While it may take time to see the mega-contracts that have dominated the NFL, the XFL has a solid plan in place to bring players into the league and compensate them fairly for their time. As more and more prospects commit to the XFL in the road to the draft in October, the roster projections will start to take shape.
With the XFL trending upwards, players will be facing a great opportunity to get into the game. They’ll have competitive pay, and new opportunities while playing a fast-paced, exciting version of football. This country has a wealth of untapped football talent waiting to ball out, and there’s a lot to look forward to in the coming months.