XFL

XFL Salaries Lower Than Reported?

Recently, the XFL projected salaries of about $55K per year for its players. In actuality, those salaries could be even lower. 

The salary schedule did not come close to matching what was talked about rampantly throughout the XFL combine workouts and was discussed online by many different sources,” agency Logan Brown Sports said in a statement (via Twitter). “The base salary is $27,040 with per-game active bonuses of $1,685 and weekly win bonuses of $2,222.

LBS represents defensive end Corey Vereen, who was selected by the L.A. Wildcats in the XFL’s first ever draft. Because the pay is lower than anticipated, Vereen says he will not play for Vince McMahon‘s rebooted league.

Vereen is the first XFLer to back out of playing with the league, but if his take on the salaries is accurate, he probably won’t be the last.

The XFL’s two-day draft kicked off on October 15. On Day 1, notables including Christine Michael (No. 6 overall, St. Louis), Tommylee Lewis (No. 13, Dallas), Sammie Coates (No. 18, Houston), Cameron Artis-Payne (No. 20, Dallas), and Jace Amaro (No. 26, Seattle) found their new pro football homes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Lewis, XFL, Manziel

When Arizona State announced they were hiring former Jets and Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, the decision was met with a lot of ridicule. Nobody’s laughing now though, as Edwards has done a near-universally praised job turning around the program the last couple of years. Edwards has emphasized that he’s running the program like an NFL team, and he’s hired a bunch of ex-NFL guys to fill out his staff. Apparently, a few of those guys might be eyeing a return to the league. Former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who serves as an advisor to ASU, is going to be in “serious consideration” for an NFL head coaching job next cycle, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter video link).

Lewis was fired by the Bengals following last season after 16 years at the helm in Cincinnati. He was never able to win a playoff game but he completely changed the Bengals’ culture for the better and turned them into a consistent winner, making the playoffs seven times and winning the AFC North four times. Lewis caught a lot of flak toward the end of his tenure in Cincy when things got stale, but the Bengals’ 0-6 start in 2019 sure makes him look a lot better by comparison. It’ll be very interesting to see if he starts getting interviews as Garafolo predicts.

Here’s more from around the football universe:

  • Lewis isn’t the only one on ASU’s staff who might get poached. Linebackers coach Antonio Pierce is “going to be a coach in the NFL sometime very soon,” Garafolo says. Pierce spent ten years as a linebacker in the league, most notably with the Giants. The former pro bowler, who last played in 2009, won Super Bowl XLII with New York. Garafolo also highlights former NFL receiver and Arizona State alum, Derek Hagan, as someone who could make the jump to the NFL soon. He currently serves as an analyst for the Sun Devils.
  • The XFL draft was held recently, and Johnny Manziel wasn’t one of the names called. That’s quite foolish from the league’s perspective, opines Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Florio notes that Manziel has expressed interest in playing in the upstart league, but XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said the league’s interest “remains to be seen” a few months ago and hasn’t provided an update since. “The sooner they add him to a team, the sooner the XFL will build the buzz that it sorely is lacking,” Florio writes. It’s hard to argue with Florio on this one. Manziel played briefly in the AAF, but hasn’t gotten any known interest from an NFL team in quite some time. He’s already burned a bridge with the CFL, so getting added to Vince McMahon’s league would seem to be his last option for the moment.
  • Recently released Buccaneers linebacker Devante Bond has been suspended four games, a source told Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Laine reports that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Bond was just cut a few days ago, and it’s highly possible the Bucs knew this was coming when they decided to part ways. Bond was drafted by Tampa in the sixth-round out of Oklahoma back in 2016, and missed his entire rookie season due to a hamstring injury. He’s started six games the past two seasons.

XFL Draft Day 1 Fallout

The XFL’s two-day draft began Tuesday. In addition to certain quarterbacks being assigned to teams, several notable players went off the board in the rebooting league’s selection event.

The league divided its draft into sections. Skill-position players (and other quarterbacks) went in one portion of the draft, with offensive linemen going second and then select defenders in another section. Connor Cook was the first quarterback to go in the non-allocation portion of the draft, being selected by the Houston franchise at No. 2 overall.

Here are some recent NFL skill-position players taken:

Here are the notable offensive linemen selected in that section of the draft:

Lastly, some front-seven names of note came off in that part of this event:

For a full team-by-team breakdown, Sporting News cataloged the first parts of this event.

XFL Assigns QBs To Teams

The XFL draft gets underway on Tuesday, but the league’s eight teams already have their starting quarterbacks penciled in. Here’s the breakdown: 

[RELATED: XFL Projects $55K Salary For Players]

The rest of the 71-man rosters will be filled by the two-day draft, which will include the selection of other quarterbacks. Interestingly, Zach Mettenberger and Joe Callahan are in the draft pool, but were not in this initial group.

The XFL season will open on February 8, 2020, shortly after the Super Bowl.

XFL Projects $55K Salary For Players

Outside of the NFL, professional football doesn’t necessarily equal millions. In the XFL, players will earn about $55K per year, on average, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets

In a memo to agents of prospective players, the XFL disclosed that players will be paid $2,080, bi-weekly. There will also be game checks during the season of $1,685 and win bonuses of $2,222. Including in-season bonuses, the league projects an average salary of $55K for each player.

The players who join Vince McMahon‘s league will be considered full-time employees. After the XFL championship game on April 25, they’ll be free to sign NFL contracts, giving them an opportunity join rosters before the 2020 draft.

 

The XFL’s own draft is slated to will take place on Tuesday Oct. 15 and Wednesday Oct. 16 with roughly 1,000 players up for grabs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

XFL Notes: Robinson, Cook, Aguayo, Cobb, Gray, Broyles, Boyer, Locke, Novak, Ollie

The relaunched XFL is gearing up for its first season, and they’re starting to announce more and more of their initial player pool. There are a lot of ex-NFL guys in the mix, and we’ll get to that in just a bit, but at least one notable college player is looking to jump right in. Former West Virginia safety Kenny Robinson is entering the XFL draft pool, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. Robinson was dismissed from West Virginia for academic fraud earlier this year. Florio writes that he was “considered a likely draft choice,” but hadn’t been in school long enough to be eligible for the NFL, which requires you to be three years removed from high school graduation.

That left Robinson with the options of looking for a new school to play at, or entering an alternative pro league. “Now they can see how I hold up mentally and physically,” Robinson told Andy Staples of The Athletic. “They’ll see me playing against guys who have actually been in the NFL and done it.” Robinson will be an early test case for what the XFL is hoping more players opt to do. Ever since they announced they were coming back, the XFL has attempted to position itself as a league for talented high school and college players to consider as an alternative to the NCAA. As Florio notes, Robinson will be eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft. In 12 games for the Mountaineers last year he had 77 tackles and four interceptions, earning a first-team All-Big 12 nod.

And now, onto the NFL alums:

  • In the first group of players that the league announced on Twitter, a few names jumped out. Former Michigan State and Raiders quarterback Connor Cook is on the list. Cook was drafted by Oakland in the fourth-round back in 2016, and even ended up starting a playoff game for them that year after injuries to Derek Carr and Matt McGloin. He spent 2017 as a third-stringer and was released at final cuts the following year. He was briefly with the Lions earlier this offseason, but was waived back in June.
  • Everybody’s favorite kicker Roberto Aguayo was also on the list, as were running backs David Cobb and Jonas Gray. Aguayo, of course, was infamously drafted by the Buccaneers in the second-round back in 2016. He lasted only one year as the Bucs’ kicker despite his draft status, and has become a punchline ever since. Cobb had a brief run as the Titans’ lead back in 2015, but never did anything after that. He most recently played in the AAF with the San Antonio Commanders. Gray was with the Patriots in 2014, and won Super Bowl XLIX with the team. Gray randomly had an absurd week in November of that year, rushing for 201 yards and four touchdowns. He quickly fell out of favor, and was released by New England the following year. He hasn’t even been in a training camp since 2016.
  • Earlier Tuesday, the XFL posted to Twitter their second batch of players. Among the notable names was receiver Ryan Broyles, a second-round pick of the Lions back in 2012. Broyles, a legendary Oklahoma player, showed some promise as a rookie, but injuries derailed his career after that. He last appeared in a regular season game in 2014. There were also a few interesting specialists on the list in longsnapper Nate Boyer, punter Jeff Locke, and kicker Nick Novak. Boyer spent six years in the military and served in Afghanistan and Iraq before becoming a walk-on at Texas. He spent the 2015 offseason with the Seahawks, but was ultimately released. Notably, he is the player who advised Colin Kaepernick to kneel rather than sit during the national anthem. Locke spent four seasons as the Vikings’ punter. Novak is a veteran NFL kicker who spent over a decade in the league from 2005-20017. Ronald Ollie, one of the stars of the popular Netflix show ‘Last Chance U’, is also on the list.

 

XFL Draft Set For Next Week

Get your mock XFL drafts ready. On Tuesday Oct. 15 and Wednesday Oct. 16, the XFL will hold its first ever draft, allowing its eight teams to fill out its 71-man rosters.

Roughly 1,000 players are up for grabs and the draft pool will be formally unfurled on Friday. Landry Jones, and other quarterbacks, will not be a part of the general draft. Instead, one QB will be assigned to each club. After that, it sounds like backup QBs will be drafted by teams, though that’s not immediately clear from the XFL’s press release.

The draft will begin with the starting QB assignment, then unfold in five phases: (1) skill-position players; (2) offensive linemen; (3) defensive front seven; (4) defensive backs; and (5) open draft, for all positions and specialists. Ten players will be chosen in phases 1-4 and phase 5 will continue until all rosters are filled.

Teams will have just 90 seconds to make their picks, which should help move things along. The XFL’s inaugural season will commence in February 2020, with teams in Dallas, Houston, D.C., Tampa, Seattle, L.A., New York, and St. Louis.

Chargers Slash Roster To 53

In addition to the Chargers’ Russell Okung announcement, they finalized their 53-man roster.

Cardale Jones did not make the team, with Los Angeles going with Tyrod Taylor and rookie Easton Stick behind Philip Rivers. The XFL has openly mentioned Jones on multiple occasions, so the former Bills and Ohio State passer could be a high-profile candidate for the upstart league.

Here are the Bolts’ Saturday cuts:

XFL Signs Landry Jones

The XFL has its first player. On Thursday, former Steelers quarterback Landry Jones agreed to sign with the XFL. 

Jones’ exact destination is TBD. He will be drafted by “one of the XFL’s eight teams” in October, according to the league’s press release.

We’re excited to welcome Landry to the XFL as our first player and first quarterback,” said XFL Commissioner and CEO, Oliver Luck. “He’s an accomplished athlete with outstanding college credentials and pro experience, and his heart and desire to play football epitomizes the type of individual we want in the XFL.”

Jones, meanwhile, says he “can’t wait to suit up.” Indeed, it’s been a while since Jones saw meaningful action. His last NFL game came in December 2017 when he started in place of Ben Roethlisberger. In previous seasons, Jones flashed some ability in his Big Ben fill-in opportunities.

Last year, Jones had a cup of coffee with the Jaguars. Then, this offseason, he spent some time with the Raiders before being released in May. Earlier this month, he worked out for the Lions, but left Detroit without a deal.

Despite his recent unemployment spell, Jones remains on the NFL radar. He first put himself on the map at Oklahoma where he set Big 12 Conference records in passing yards (16,646), completions (1,388) and touchdown passes (123).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Haynesworth, CBA, XFL

We have unfortunate news, as former NFL defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is dealing with a serious health issue. Haynesworth is battling kidney disease, and he recently took to Instagram to announce he was in desperate need of a transplant, per Ethan Cadeaux of NBC Sports. Haynesworth posted a caption that reads as follows:

“Some of you may know I’ve been battling kidney disease for a few years now the time has come family, friends and fans I’m in dire need of a kidney mine have finally failed me on July 7 2019. It’s hard to believe from being a professional athlete to only 8 season in retirement that my body has taken another major blow. First with the brain aneurism (sic) 3 seasons out of the NFL to now my kidneys failing me. But the bright side of this latest ordeal I can ask for help by asking for someone to generously donate a kidney. If you are interested in giving this precious gift please call Vanderbilt at 615-936-0695 and hit option 2. GOD BLESS thank you for your prayers and thanks for sharing this message.” 

Haynesworth entered the league as a first-round pick of the Titans back in 2002, and became one of the league’s best defensive tackles. He was a back to back first-team All-Pro in 2007 and 2008. The Tennessee product played ten seasons in the league before hanging them up following the 2011 campaign. All of us here at PFR wish Haynesworth the best and send him our thoughts.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • There’s been a lot of talk about a proposed 18-game schedule recently. Ever since it was leaked that owners planned to push for an extended schedule in the next round of CBA negotiations, there’s been a lot of pushback. In response to that pushback, the league is reportedly planning on pitching a plan for 18 games, but where players are only eligible for 16 of them. In order to guarantee players don’t have to play more than they currently are, each player would have to sit out at least two of his team’s games. In that hypothetical scenario players wouldn’t have to play more than they currently do, but they apparently aren’t buying it. Some people in the NFLPA are “suspicious of the idea of an 18-game schedule with only 16 games for players to be eligible, believing it will morph players playing all 18 some day,” according to veteran NFL reporter Jason Cole (Twitter link). It’s understandable why the union would be skeptical, as the idea of star quarterbacks being forced to sit out at least two of their team’s games likely wouldn’t last very long. In all likelihood, the schedule will stay the exact same in the next CBA.
  • The XFL held its last showcase today, and some more notable names were in attendance. In addition to the presence of Connor Cook and Trent Richardson, which was previously reported, quarterback Zach Mettenberger, running back David Cobb, tight end Clay Harbor, and defensive end Jacquies Smith were all in attendance, per Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Mettenberger, who had a brief stint as the Titans’ starting quarterback a handful of years ago, was playing in the AAF before that upstart league folded. Cobb, Harbor, and Smith all had somewhat notable stints in the league.
  • In case you missed it, Dak Prescott doesn’t plan on taking a hometown discount from the Cowboys.