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UFL pondering possibilities for pilfering NFL players during lockout

UFL Nighthawks Debut Football

The UFL stands to gain plenty from the NFL lockout.  Already shifting the start of its season into August in the hopes of better competing for eyeballs against preseason NFL football, the UFL would step into the shoes of the league’s pro football monopoly if the lockout lingers.

And with plenty of players not being able to play NFL football, the UFL is considering the possibility of providing employment for the available players.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the UFL is considering a rule that would allow NFL players to return when the lockout ends, even if it happens during the UFL season.  The UFL ultimately may permit only “a few” players to leave, since UFL rosters would be decimated by the sudden departure of a glut of NFL players.

The UFL, in our view, would need to have a much more clear standard than that.  For players under contract with NFL teams, the end of a lockout would put the players under contract simultaneously with two teams.  Surely, no agent would allow his client to sign a UFL contract that would potentially supersede the NFL contract after a lockout.

For players not currently under contract with any NFL team (i.e., those due to become restricted or unrestricted free agents), it would be easier for the UFL to squat on their rights.

Of course, it all may be moot, if the salary to be earned from the UFL would barely cover the disability insurance premium.  There’s simply no reason for an NFL player to risk losing his ability to earn at the NFL level if he’s not earning much at the UFL level.  Given the financial struggles that the UFL continues to face, we doubt that the UFL will be able to attract many — or any — NFL players with instantly recognizable names.

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31 Responses to “UFL pondering possibilities for pilfering NFL players during lockout”
  1. litemater95 says: Mar 15, 2011 4:34 PM

    It would be moot as well since players that are Regular UFL team members cant get paid normally..

  2. toe4 says: Mar 15, 2011 4:36 PM

    The UFL would be better served starting its season in May and ending in July because anyone with a chance at an NFL training camp won’t want to be playing UFL ball when they could be getting a call from an NFL team as soon as the lockout is over.

  3. laeaglefan says: Mar 15, 2011 4:38 PM

    Who assumes liability for players injured while playing for the UFL and therefore unable to honor their NFL contracts?

  4. dukemarc says: Mar 15, 2011 4:38 PM

    Any NFL player that would do this would be blackballed even after the UFL folds up shop.

  5. aschwartz2011 says: Mar 15, 2011 4:38 PM

    I think they might be able to lure some 6th/7th round draftpicks who want to get more practice at a professional level will sign.

    I would bet a bunch of the “big-name” undrafted FAs who would usually sign with an NFL team right away will go to the UFL since the NFL can’t sign them until a new CBA. This would give them the chance to show there stuff in hopes of getting a better contract.

  6. mmickute says: Mar 15, 2011 4:38 PM

    But what kind of slave wants to take a million dollar pay cut to work for the UFL?

  7. Lou Pickney says: Mar 15, 2011 4:39 PM

    The UFL might be wise to target the best of the undrafted players, guys who NFL teams typically try to snatch up as soon as the draft ends. Absent a new CBA, there will be no wild west style sprint to sign those guys by NFL teams. Moreover, the UFL represents an opportunity for some of those guys to prove themselves in a professional league and, in turn, potentially parlay success there into a nice NFL contract.

  8. crackills says: Mar 15, 2011 4:41 PM

    If there is no NFL and UFL gets a few big names in and sets up Fantasy UFL leagues on yahoo, etc….

    You better bet your ass they’ll get some viewers.
    Any football is better then NO football. UFL stands only to gain from NFLs ineptitude.
    In the end it’s a win-win for the fans.. once NFL realizes they’re loosing players or UFL is growing in interest.. they’ll be more inclined to work out a deal.

  9. carson9 says: Mar 15, 2011 4:42 PM

    The UFL can have Adrian Peterson, after his “slave” remark the Vikings don’t want his ass anymore.

  10. prmpft says: Mar 15, 2011 4:42 PM

    HEY – you just leave the PILFERING to the NFLPA and players thank you very much!!!

  11. ursushorribilis says: Mar 15, 2011 4:45 PM

    Adrian, here is your chance! Show those “slave-owning” NFL franchises you are bolting for the UFL! Take Drew Brees with you!

    You don’t need NO stinking money!

    Freedom, Adrian!……join the UFL!

    (Not a Vikings or Saints fan!)

  12. discostu570 says: Mar 15, 2011 4:46 PM

    The money will follow the players, not the owners. If enough players went to the UFL, the UFL could sell the broadcast rights for much more, players would just have to wait until the broadcast rights are sold to figure out how much they’ll be able to make.

    If they need some startup cash, the UFL could conduct their own college draft, nothings stopping them from offering rookies contracts. Rookies might also be more inclined to stick around with their UFL teams for more than half a season, since they need the cash now.

  13. discostu570 says: Mar 15, 2011 4:46 PM

    The money will follow the players, not the owners. If enough players went to the UFL, the UFL could sell the broadcast rights for much more, players would just have to wait until the broadcast rights are sold to figure out how much they’ll be able to make.

    If they need some startup cash, the UFL could conduct their own college draft and sell the broadcast rights to that, nothings stopping them from offering rookies contracts. Rookies might also be more inclined to stick around with their UFL teams for more than half a season, since they need the cash now.

  14. richm2256 says: Mar 15, 2011 4:47 PM

    There’s simply no reason for an NFL player to risk losing his ability to earn at the NFL level if he’s not earning much at the UFL level.
    ————————————————
    Nobody accused many of these guys of being rocket scientists either, though.

  15. thegonz13 says: Mar 15, 2011 5:04 PM

    There is STILL a UFL????????????

  16. worstposterever says: Mar 15, 2011 5:19 PM

    The UFL should quickly expand to 32 teams and start asking for permission form cities to use each NFL stadium in the event of a lockout.

    Figure something out so that the players stay on their current teams, just use a different team name.

    Wonder how the owners would like that one…

  17. jhorton83 says: Mar 15, 2011 5:20 PM

    I don’t think that NFL players are going to be very interested given that the UFL seems to have problems paying people.

  18. toe4 says: Mar 15, 2011 5:20 PM

    The UFL can have the District of Columbia Sunburns. The entire organization. And take the Cowboys while your at it.

  19. livenbreathefootball says: Mar 15, 2011 5:25 PM

    Yeah, after the “promises” last year that a player can go to the NFL after the UFL season ends, I don’t see a lot of players falling for this. You think the players don’t trust the NFL owners? That’s nothing compared to their distrust of the UFL.

  20. peanutbutter&jelly says: Mar 15, 2011 5:41 PM

    how about all nfl players go play for the ufl for a season at the ufl pay rate while they are thinking about how unfair that the owners are being

  21. jakek2 says: Mar 15, 2011 6:05 PM

    Who assumes liability for players injured while playing for the UFL and therefore unable to honor their NFL contracts?
    ——————–
    Great question laeagle fan.

    As apparently the only poster on this site with more than a high school education, let me opine that the NFL OWNERS would likely (stress likely) be legally liable to the players in such instance. If a NFL player under contract is not getting paid thereunder due to the owners’ lockout, that NFL player has a right to obtain other gainful employment to support himself. If he gets hurt, he should be able to sue the owner for the balance of his contract (which he is doing anyway in the Brady case) as those injuries are a reasonably foreseeable consequential damage of the owners’ breach. If the player could prove that the owner should have had reason to believe that the player would play elsewhere, that enhances the players’ case of proven reasonable foreseeability against the owner.

    It would be no different if the player tore an ACL in the grocery parking lot while wheeling in carts for Stop and Shop.

  22. thefiesty1 says: Mar 15, 2011 6:43 PM

    The UFL better have DEEP pockets for those greedy jerks. They would never be satisfied with your pay scale. The UFL won’t last a full season trying to pay those guys.

  23. FinFan68 says: Mar 15, 2011 6:48 PM

    The very fact that the UFL is an option (regular football in the USA) for the players should make them worry about their litigation a little. By definition, a monopoly has no competition in the market and that is no longer the case for the NFL. It is another option that the players are not prevented from taking if they don’t like the lucrative situation the NFL provides.

  24. trickbunny says: Mar 15, 2011 7:15 PM

    Are you listening, Brady Quinn? Here’s your chance to go from worst to first! Hurry!- before your Locos uniform turns back into a pumpkin!!

  25. jefeweiss says: Mar 15, 2011 7:39 PM

    If I were the UFL, I would do everything that I could to try to get NFL players, even if it were only for a few games. The amount of extra exposure would be completely worth it.

    I would offer shares in the ownership of teams to NFL players to entice them to come play. In fact, I think offering shares of teams is a win/win proposition because either the league survives and they are worth something or the league folds and they aren’t worth anything anyway.

  26. tommytd says: Mar 15, 2011 7:55 PM

    They would have to get them paid but I say GO FOR IT. I would watch them…the hell with the NFL…you can work stoppage your way into oblivion for all I care.

  27. bigbeefyd says: Mar 15, 2011 8:14 PM

    @FinFan68 – excellent point! They do, indeed, have an option (at least if they are not under contract) – I’d be surprised if the owners’ legal team doesn’t bring that up. At which point the players would say “yeah but it doesn’t pay as well” – oh, wait, they’ve already said it’s not about the money…

  28. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Mar 15, 2011 8:45 PM

    NFLPA* players feeling ‘dissed by the NFL?

    Wait until they see the after-game “buffet” in the UFL!

    “My dog won’t eat that $hit!”

    “No valet service in this cheap-a$$ motel?”

  29. MichaelEdits says: Mar 15, 2011 11:11 PM

    A brand new copy of QUARTERBACK OF THE FUTURE has just arrived at my home in Hanoi.

    We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.

  30. j0hnnyv says: Mar 16, 2011 1:20 AM

    ufl is a joke

  31. bearsfan63 says: Mar 16, 2011 7:25 AM

    If the UFL were smart they would seize this opportunity and compete with the NFL head to head like the old AFL Did only this time offer the star players a percentage of ownership and pay them a cut based on the teams profitability. If each team were to sign say 10 NFL starters with 2-3 star players they could compete against the NFL and fill stadiums. Also with a rookie cap they could afford to outbid the NFL for incoming players. Over a few years they could become a very effective competitor. Maybe the NFLPA should consider investing in the league

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