Vikings wanted to sign Lorenzo Booker, but refused to pay UFL transfer fee

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.

It wasn’t.

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.

16 responses to “Vikings wanted to sign Lorenzo Booker, but refused to pay UFL transfer fee

  1. So they’ll empty the bank for The Old Dongslinger, but won’t cough up 150k for a back.

    By the way, you have ADRIAN PETERSON on your team. USE HIM!

  2. Herein lays the problem with the 150k transfer fee.

    Danny Woodhead of the Pats is a significantly better 3rd down back than Booker is…. 550k next year, and 700k the year following.

    Why would a club want to ditch 150k simply to have a fellow like Booker show up for 6 games? Doesn’t make sense.

    In theory the “if the NFL wants them bad enough they’ll pay it” works fine if the NFL were signing WR1, RB1 and QBs, but the bottom line of the matter is…they’re signing short-term injury replacements and depth guys a lot of times, and these guys aren’t around long term or making millions. 150k + his contract for Booker to participate in 5-6 weeks of the season as a bit player is ridiculous. The UFL is sealing their own fate.

  3. Hmmm … let’s see … the Vikings sign their coach to a long term deal, then fire him … costing them around 8 million, then they pay an over the hill quarterback at least a million a game – after they go over to his house and pick him up mid-way through training camp.

    Then they burn a third round draft choice by trading for a guy they proceed to cut after four games ….

    But to spend a hundred and fifty large to bring in a back that might help the team immediately? Naaah … what a waste of money!

    Glad to see the inmates are still in charge of the asylum.

  4. There is no way that this will hurt the UFL. So what if 10 – 15 FL players don’t play in the UFL in hopes of making it to the NFL – no one will know the difference.

    The UFL is smart to place the 150K fee on their players.

    Why don’t you acknowledge this brilliant move FLorio?

  5. when are you going to explain to us how this guys are still under “contract” now that there UFL season is over. did everyone is the UFL sign 5 year contracts???

    I can understand a huge fee to release someone during the UFL season, but after…. but then who really cares, 1/2 the players in the NFL are scrubs, why should I be interested in a scrub-scrubs league.

  6. Can you blame the Vikings? They are on the hook for roughly $9 million to an ex coach who can no longer throw his players under the bus now that he doesn’t have a team to mismanage. They are on the hook for $1 million per game to a QB that leads the NFL in INT’s (17) and turnovers (22) that directly lead to the dismissal of Col Clueless Klink. They already paid too much money to rent a HOF WR for 4 games only to go 1-3 in the span and had to play another WR his full salary for sitting on the PUP list over half of this season. Add to all this the fact that they are paying a DE on a $70 million contract for very little production, a $44 million dollar contract to a WR that can’t get open and even when he does, he drops the ball.

    Give Ziggy a break, he deserves to keep some of his money after getting robbed by the above mentioned band of misfits (otherwise known as the 3-7 MN Vikings)

  7. It is crazy for the UFL to require a ‘transfer fee’ for players to sign with the NFL. There are many minor-league indoor football teams, and none that I am aware of ever charged a fee for the NFL to sign their players-they are happy to see players get to the NFL because it increases the street cred of their leagues. The UFL will not survive if it continues this lunacy. The list below is from Wikipedia-all current indoor football leagues in the United States:

    Current leagues

    * Arena Football League – (1987–2008, 2010–present)
    * American Indoor Football Association 2006–present
    * American Professional Football League 2003–present
    * Continental Indoor Football League 2006–present
    * Independent Indoor Football Alliance 2007–present
    * Indoor Football League 2008–present
    * Southern Indoor Football League 2008–present
    * Ultimate Indoor Football League 2005-2006 (as Atlantic/American Football League), 2011-future

  8. I would recommend all NFL fans to check out the indoor football games of any of the aforementioned leagues-I watched the River City Rage (St. Louis Missouri area-team is now defunct) for several years and the quality of football is generally pretty good. Some of the players are clearly not NFL material but some indoor players have made it to the NFL (Fred Jackson, Kurt Warner). Also, it is much cheaper than an NFL game-you can buy a season ticket for less than the cost of a ticket to one NFL game.

  9. the ufl will be done in a year if they keep this up … like gandalf said players go to the ufl for a chance to get an NFL team to look at them … and now they will just find some other league to play for … this sounds like a case were the TEAMS want to cash in on some of the talent like this is the NCAA

  10. Hey Florio,

    How do labor laws affect this situation? Does the UFL contract supersede a players right to pursue other employment in another league? What if he wanted to go play in the Arena League. Would the same $150k payment apply. If not, isn’t this a restrictive and unfair practice by the UFL. As I understand it, the UFL players aren’t represented by a union but it also doesn’t seem that they could individually negotiate this clause out of the contract. So if a player like Booker were to fight this in court, how would he do?

  11. 4sacroc says:
    Nov 26, 2010 7:48 AM

    By the way, you have ADRIAN PETERSON on your team. USE HIM!
    In the words of Charlie Harper, “There it is!”

    Look at the total number of carries in the past three games, it is rediculous. His highest total of them was 17. Hopefully they get back to being a running team, unlikely with Super Ego Favre as QB.

  12. “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.”

    Florio, you’re a lawyer… that antitrust statement is total BS. That isn’t even close to showing an antitrust violation by any antitrust statute– Sherman, Clayton, FTC… Just an irresponsible statement.

    To show an antitrust violation, the UFL would have to show that the 32 NFL teams had a contract (verbal contracts count) to conspire against paying that transfer fee. Each of the teams simply deciding they don’t want to pay the fee doesn’t even come close.

    Unilateral action, man.

    You should just drop that whole law thing from your resume.

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