The concept of supply and demand will have some exceptions. For the XFL, Corey Vereen is the first one.
Vereen’s representatives have announced that the third-phase, eighth-round selection of the L.A. Wildcats in last week’s convoluted initial player draft won’t be playing in the new league because the pay is too low.
“The salary schedule did not come close to matching what was talked about rampantly throughout the XFL combine workouts and was discussed online by many different sources,” reads the statement posted online by Logan Brown Sports. “The base salary is $27,040 with per-game active bonuses of $1,685 and weekly win bonuses of $2,222.
In June 2018, XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck said that the average XFL player salary will land in the range of $75,000, with well-known players possibly making much more. But that was before the XFL’s main (and only) competition cratered. With the AAF out of the picture, the XFL could pay players less.
Earlier this month, agents were told that the average player salary will be in the range of $55,000. Of course, that includes the per-game active bonuses and weekly win bonuses, which obviously won’t automatic.
The real question for the XFL is whether Vereen, who played for the Memphis Express of the AAF after spending time as an undrafted free agent with the Patriots in 2017, will be the exception or the rule. More than a week after the draft, Vereen is the only player to publicly tap out. Others who both want to play football and who believe that XFL reps will enhance the possibility of an NFL opportunity will take whatever they can get. Some would probably play for free, like they all basically did in college.
Right or wrong, that’s the way American business operates. As long as all applicable minimum-wage laws are satisfied, the employer can pay as little as it wants. If enough employees are willing to work for whatever is being offered, the business will be able to operate.
Although XFL owner Vince McMahon seems to be willing to lose millions in an effort to make spring football work, that doesn’t mean he’ll waste money. Right or wrong, that’s his prerogative. And the players are free to do what Vereen did. If enough are willing to do that, McMahon will have no choice but to offer greater compensation.