Plenty of pro football players could soon be trading one FL for another.
The XFL has made no secret of its desire to swoop in and offer contracts to players who find themselves on the outside looking in after NFL rosters plummet from 90 to 53 on Saturday. It has been clear for months that the resurrected spring league plans to offer contracts to players — particularly quarterbacks — who will commit to the XFL and remove themselves from the inevitable roster churning that will occur as NFL quarterbacks get injured or play poorly.
“When we look at the guys fighting for roster spots who might get released, we see incredible talent,” XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck told USA Today. “These are guys that fans will recognize.”
But maybe not for good reasons. Luck has said he’s watching the battle between Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch to serve as the No. 2 to Russell Wilson in Seattle. Smith won. Lynch is available. And his name will be recognized by XFL fans only because he was a first-round bust.
That said, the NFL’s current golden age of quarterbacks, with plenty of great older quarterbacks and plenty of great younger quarterbacks dominating the various rosters, makes it harder for talented backups to remain employed.
“You now have incredibly talented quarterbacks at the position for 15 to 20 years,” Luck said. “One of the results of that is that you have a bunch of college guys who are very gifted but they find it difficult to make an NFL roster.”
Plenty of them won’t, and then the XFL will try to pilfer them. That dynamic could prompt some teams that would otherwise keep only two quarterbacks consider keeping three, given that the pool of available quarterbacks could be diminished after the XFL raids eight to 16 of the quarterbacks who get cut this weekend.
Whether those third-string options make the XFL sufficiently compelling to survive is a different issue. Spring football already faces an uphill climb because spring isn’t football season. Unless the XFL can attract or create stars, the XFL will, like every spring league does, ultimately generate plenty of Zs.