UFL Commissioner suggests transfer fee is negotiable

The UFL has declined to waive its $150,000 transfer fee for players signed after the season to active NFL rosters.  But the UFL could be willing to make a deal.

During a Friday appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, UFL Commissioner Michael Huyghue hinted that the UFL could accept less than $150,000 in some cases.  The specific amount paid for now is irrelevant, because no NFL team has offered to pay anything for the ability to sign a UFL player to an active NFL roster.

Huyghue reiterated that the transfer fee does not apply to players signed to practice squads, to contracts signed after a team’s 2010 NFL season ends, or to players who spent fewer than four weeks on a UFL team.

This week, four players signed with NFL practice squads:  Hartford guard Colin Brown (Ravens), Hartford tackle Jacob Bender (Redskins), Hartford defensive end Derek Walker (Seahawks), and Sacramento safety Andrew Sendejo (Cowboys).  Huyghue confirmed that former NFL first-round receiver Michael Clayton was permitted to join the Giants without a transfer fee because he spent fewer than four weeks on a UFL roster.

Huyghue also said that NFL teams wanted to sign approximately four UFL players during the UFL season, but that none were released from their contracts.  It previously has been reported that the Chargers were willing to pay the $150,000 transfer fee for Florida kicker Nick Novak.  Huyghue also said that multiple NFL teams inquired about Omaha quarterback Jeff Garcia.  Huyghue declined to identify those teams.

The current vision for the UFL is to provide an alternative to the NFL in markets that don’t have NFL football.  But while the UFL is resisting the notion that it’s a developmental or minor league, the reality is that, unless and until the UFL can provide similar compensation or exposure, the UFL necessarily will be a minor league, and the UFL would be wise to embrace that reality, not ignore it.

Though Huyghue says he’s not concerned that the enforcement of the transfer fee will cause NFL fringe players to decide against playing in the UFL next year, we’ve got a feeling that more and more players will say no — or that they’ll separately negotiate contractual terms allowing them to leave when the UFL season ends, if not sooner.