The USFL Is Already Making Moves To Block Top Talent From The XFL

The USFL Is Already Making Moves To Block Top Talent From The XFL


  • While the NFL won’t be concerned about USFL and XFL competing for NFL athletes, the USFL and XFL will be in direct competition very soon
  • According to a report, the USFL is already making moves to protect top talent from jumping ship to the XFL in a year
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In this dead zone after the Super Bowl, it’s hard to fathom that we’re on the verge of having three active professional football leagues in the United States. The inaugural USFL draft took place this week and the first season is miraculously expected to begin in less than two months, on April 16th.

Playing games with squads who have had less than two months together will certainly make for an interesting TV product but it’s not as if the USFL will have any competition to start. The competition will begin in 2023 when the XFL owned by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson makes its triumphant return.

According to a report from PFT’s Mike Florio and Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, the USFL is already taking active steps to ensure it’s ahead of the XFL competition by protecting athletes with overlapping contracts. This way when the XFL comes back it won’t be able to easily poach any of the USFL’s top players.

USFL Is Already Making Moves To Block Top Talent From The XFL

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.

Florio goes on to note that there’s quite possibly enough room for two Spring football leagues. With the meteoric rise of sports gambling in the United States, gamblers are always looking for more action and the USFL + XFL will both benefit from that.

It’s unclear how much competition there will be between the USFL and XFL for the same athletes. The average XFL salary in 2020 was between $43,890 to $66,110. That’s not exactly enough money to sway top talent to the XFL. And it’s reported the average USFL salary will be around $45,000.

On the flip side, the XFL is now owned by The Rock who is one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Just attaching his name to the XFL makes it more relevant than before and on top of that, the XFL is collaborating with the NFL on player development.

As a soccer fan, I’d LOVE to see the United States as a whole become more open to the ‘academy’ approach of soccer where professional athletics and development start at the earliest ages and are tied to education. This potentially starts with the XFL being a development league for the NFL and it’s unclear how the USFL will factor into that but it will be fun to watch.