Sports and entertainment are going into hibernation in an effort to help combat the coronavirus, to promote the social distancing tool that is so crucial to help flatten the curve. Every major sports league in the country has suspended operations, as have many leagues of lesser status.
That includes the XFL, which formally announced yesterday that its 2020 season is now over, after having played just five of 10 scheduled weeks of the regular season. By and large, they appeared to be in much better shape than the AAF was a year ago.
They have already stated that there will be a 2021 season, and that players will be paid their full salaries for the 2020 season. Commissioner Oliver Luck also made it clear that all players are now released from their contracts, with the season being over, and immediately free to sign with any NFL team.
The XFL has advised players they can sign immediately with teams in the NFL or any other league once their exit physicals are complete tomorrow, per sources. So for the stars — Josh Johnson, P.J. Walker, Jordan Ta’amu, et al. — a chance to land quickly.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 13, 2020
Given the situation around the league right now, I frankly doubt we’re going to be hearing about many players signing right now. While several dozens players signed from the AAF, these are almost all marginal players at best, most of whom a team would want to bring in for a visit, and by the time this actually publishes, I’m guessing the majority of teams will have shut down their facilities, if it hasn’t been done leaguewide.
Still, there are some players who would definitely attracts interest from the NFL, most especially quarterback P.J. Walker of the Houston Roughnecks, whose 5-0 record showed they were the peak of the league. Nobody else had more than three wins.
Walker proved to be dynamic both as a passer and a runner. And when he was throwing the ball, he had great success getting it out to wide receiver Cam Phillips, who led the league with 455 receiving yards on 31 receptions, with nine touchdowns. Nobody else had more than four touchdowns.
I’d like to point out that former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Steven Johnson led the league with 49 tackles and six tackles for loss as of the time of the XFL’s closing, through the halfway point of the season. He was also a standout in the AAF, and clearly is a guy who loves football, even if he may never get another shot in the NFL. Those are the sorts of players who could make an alternative league work. Terence Garvin, another standout former Steeler in the AAF, finished fifth in tackles with four tackles for loss and a sack.
One of the biggest names in the league, and the first to sign, was Landry Jones, but he was limited to parts of just three games due to injuries, both before the season started and on his final snap. He was hopeful of returning to play after another week. Now there are no more games to play until next February.