USFL’s 2022 contracts will make it harder for XFL to get players in 2023

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The XFL will return in 2023. The USFL knows that, and is planning shrewdly for the competition.

Via Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, the USFL’s player contracts cover one year, with a one-year option. Thus, the USFL can choose to squat on any, some, or all of the players for 2023, keeping them away from the XFL (owned by The Rock) for its third inaugural season.

While the USFL may win the short-term fight for players, the XFL’s collaboration with the NFL may help that league win the broader struggle for relevance.

It’s possibly not a zero-sum game, however. With legalized gambling continuing to spread, people need things to bet on. (Or “on which to bet,” for the grammatically fastidious.) Maybe there’s room for two alternative spring leagues.

Still, as we’ve said before — and as mentioned in Playmakers (I think . . . regardless, buy it now, people) — why have an alternative league in the spring when Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the fall are, to borrow a phrase from Bruce Arians, wide-ass open?

Hovering over all of this is the NFL. It hasn’t re-launched a developmental league post-NFL Europa because the model hasn’t been profitable. Gambling could make it extremely profitable. And if anyone is going to be profiting from pro football at any time of the year, it’s going to be the NFL.

22 responses to “USFL’s 2022 contracts will make it harder for XFL to get players in 2023

  1. will vegas be dictating the outcomes of games in the USFL and XFL like they do in the NFL?

  2. Big brother NFL will probably kill the USFL. The USFL was a really fun league in the 1980’s before one owner started trying to outbid the NFL. It ended in an owner overspending league-wide and their collapse. It was great and fun while it lasted.

  3. Would prefer a summer league played inside in domed stadiums. Would only have to compete with baseball that time of year. Just have the season end before NFL preseason. And if a player gets an invitation to an NFL camp, let them leave.

  4. This is absolutely ridiculous. There are hundreds of college football players who aren’t committed to any teams or leagues. There will be plenty to go around for all involved.
    Of course they won’t be NFL quality, but there won’t be a shortage of players to fill their rosters.

  5. Lawn work, cleaning up the garden, cleaning out the garage, home repair projects…..who has time for spring football after being cooped up all winter?

  6. Gambling won’t make these leagues fly. C’mon, folks – they have ALL failed, repeatedly. You go ahead and ‘bet’ on them making it this time…
    We may have already seen the end of college football, thanks to marketing and greed.

  7. How did the AFL pull off developing their franchises? We need 6 maverick billionaires, who are probably minorities and being ignored in a bid to become an NFL owner, to invest in teams and do it right in 6 non NFL cities.

  8. These 1 year options would only be enforceable within the confines of the league it was signed in. Say Team A cant Play for Team B in the USFL, but no way that contract would hold up in court to prevent player from signing with a team outside the league. Non-compete agreements are wholly unenforceable in the US.

  9. The XFL was doing well in 2020 with selling tickets and TV ratings. Unfortunately COVID put an end to pretty much everything. I look forward to the XFL returning next year with teams actually playing games in home markets, unlike the USFL which is like a big spring training camp playing in one stadium all year long.

  10. Fox owns the league, and they own the network. This will be about contracts for airing the games. Whoever gets the most TV money will have time to develop. Put a good product on the tube, and ESPN will play the highlights- like the old days. and make the games available nationwide. Play well enough so that they are watchable, and people will watch.
    The rock is a nice guy, and he is kinda going back to the old proverbial neighborhood (WWE and former football prospect), for some need to “make it right”. So who do bet on? The network with 100’s of Millions/Billions of dollar$$$ or the guy “scratching his itch” with a few 10’s of Millions of spare dollar$? Put your money on the big money. money buys talent!

  11. @Hornedhell, the AFL thrived because there was pro-level talent available due to a much smaller number of teams. This is different. Take a look at the NFL and all the teams searching for something more than adequate at QB. Take a look at the team with the worst QB, than look at his backup and that’s the level of the new league. I wish them all luck, but we’ve all seen this movie before.

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