Last week, UFL running back Lorenzo Booker boycotted his team’s regular-season finale due to the league’s decision to enforce a $150,000 transfer fee. Many believed that the gesture was a hollow one, given that he last played in the NFL in 2008.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation have advised PFT that Booker worked out for the Vikings this week, and that the Vikings were ready to sign the former Dolphins and Eagles tailback, who entered the league in 2007 as a third-round pick out of Florida State. But the Vikings refused to pay the $150,000 transfer fee — and the UFL has refused to waive it.
Minnesota has been searching for a reliable third-down back since Chester Taylor left via free agency in March. Booker could have spent the rest of 2010 proving that he could be the answer in 2011.
One source tells us that at least four UFL players have worked out for NFL teams since the completion of the UFL regular season, but that no NFL team has been willing to pay the transfer fee.
It’s possible that no NFL team wants to be the first to fork over 150 large, and that once one does it, others may follow suit. It’s the kind of talk that, if substantiated, could give rise to an antitrust claim against the NFL.
During the season, the Chargers were willing to pay the money in order to sign kicker Nick Novak from the Florida Tuskers. The UFL refused to release Novak. After Novak’s season ends on Saturday with the UFL title game, a team that needs a kicker could be willing to consider paying the money.
Again, however, someone has to be the first to pay the money. To date, no one has actually written the check.
Regardless of how this chess match plays out between the UFL and the NFL, the UFL stands to lose in 2010. We’ve already heard talk that players hoping to get back to the NFL will not use the UFL as an alternative in 2011, since the short-term revenue stream (roughly $50,000 for the season) doesn’t overcome the lure of getting an NFL salary, even if only a portion of the players will be attractive to the NFL.
Last year, 43 players joined the NFL after the UFL season ended. It’s a number that’s big enough to justify a decision to continue to hang onto that NFL dream.