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XFL Players

Trevor Lawrence In The XFL, The Talk Is Growing

Now that we finally know all the XFL team names, colors, and logos, we again turn to potential talent to fill the rosters of all eight franchises.

Unlike the NFL, the XFL does not require athletes to be three years removed from high school to be eligible for the league. This presents an opening to lure talent away from the NFL instead of being completely dependent on backups and journeymen. Mixing in young, fresh talent would provide the league with enhanced credibility and fan interest.

XFL commissioner Oliver Luck emphasized this approach during a recent interview with Colin Cowherd:

“We’re not subject to the NFL’s eligibility rules that you have to be three years out of high school. We can sign and WILL sign college players”

Oliver Luck, XFL Commissioner

College players cannot earn a salary despite creating billions for their respective schools, but an opportunity to turn pro and get weekly paychecks could be tempting enough to forfeit remaining eligibility and step onto an XFL gridiron.

A new league that comprises a mix of former NFL vets working toward another chance and raw talent filling the gap toward NFL eligibility is a niche the XFL is looking to establish. Unlike the failed USFL and the AAF’s Tom Dundon’s stubborn and foolish demand of borrowing NFL practice squad players, the XFL will attempt to be a compliment to the NFL instead of a competitor.

A prime example of enhancing the talent pool is Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence (6′-6″ 220). A starting true freshman now entering his second season, he must wait two more years to become NFL eligible despite leading his team to the national championship and Offensive MVP his freshman year. Completing 65% of his passes with 30 TD’s, 4 INT’s and 3,280 yards, he’s one of the highest QB prospects since Peyton Manning.

“He’s the most special quarterback prospect I’ve seen in all my years at Rivals.com”

 Mike Farrell , National Recruiting Director

What Lawrence has to decide is whether or not it’s worth the low XFL salary and risking a career-threatening injury in a startup league populated by NFL rejects and potential offensive scheme unsuited to his strengths. However, huge endorsement deals could prove mighty tempting.

Although there have been hints the XFL will loosen its resistance toward players with behavior issues like Johnny Manziel, there is no way the league will undermine the strict salary structure to maintain balance and solvency during its formative years. Colin Kaepernick’s alleged $20 million demand went nowhere.

Hall of Fame inductees Steve Young and Jim Kelly signed with the USFL for better salaries than established NFL stars. Young’s insane contract was to last 43 years until 2027 based on a flimsy annuity. The league folded after three seasons and he accepted a one-time buyout.

LOS ANGELES – CIRCA 1980S: Quarterback Steve Young #8 of the Los Angeles Express drops back to pass during a circa 1980s USFL game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Young played for the Express from 1984-85. (Photo by Andy Hayt/Getty Images)

The NFL has rookie salary limits, preventing a budget-busting contract, although guarantees can add a lot of extra padding to the wallet. Only after proving himself can an NFL star finally cash in.

Would Lawrence be wise to remain with a championship level NCAA team surrounded by similar talent while honing his skills toward becoming a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft, or should he take the plunge (and some cash) by joining the XFL? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Scott Jones

    August 26, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    After 2 years in the xfl he would be 3 years removed from high school would he have to go to the nfl by draft or would he be a free agent?

    • The Mark

      August 26, 2019 at 6:39 pm

      He would still need to be part of the NFL draft.

  2. Brian

    August 27, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I dont understand why there is so much fuss about one guy with one seasons worth of work under his belt? Could it be that all the stars were perfectly aligned for him to have the success that he had last year? Yes he is 6’5 and can throw the ball but NFL history is filled with scores of guys with similar builds who although had long careers, they never made a dent in the league. Lets just take a deep breath and ease up on the hype just a tad. Lets see how he performs this year, whether thats in college or in the XFL.

    • Johnny Lucas

      August 28, 2019 at 11:37 pm

      Brian,

      There are always teams desperately seeking a starting quarterback. There is no way to become a successful team with scrubs, journeymen and veterans whose best days are long gone.

      Dwayne Haskins redshirted, was a backup in year two and only has one year of college experience as a starter. Despite such a thin resume, he was still the 15th pick of the 2019 draft. Trevor Lawrence’s situation is very similar, so talk of going pro early is a reasonable line of speculation.

      The history of quarterback busts is endless, but there is no way to know who will be a future star. Every draft pick is a risk and the odds are against success, but jobs are on the line for a QB that will excite a fan base and sell tickets and merchandise.

      BTW, Lawrence is 6’6″, not 6’5″

    • Richard Handley

      August 30, 2019 at 10:20 am

      It wasn’t just his performance last year. You need to look at his high school career. He has been a stand out player for years before he went to Clemson

  3. Amirite

    August 27, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Trevor Lawrence is NOT jumping to the XFL.

    The XFL is a joke.

  4. Tony

    August 28, 2019 at 12:13 am

    No top college talent should join the XFL until the league proves itself. And quite honestly the XFL shouldn’t be trying to compete with the NFL for talent anyways.

    • Kenneth Walker

      August 28, 2019 at 5:08 pm

      They aren’t. Did you read the article or do any research before posting?? Of course not…

    • Johnny Lucas

      August 28, 2019 at 11:43 pm

      Tony,

      Athletes who want to be paid for their skills should be allowed to do so. That’s the case throughout the public and private workforce. Once they’re legal adults, they have the option to shop their services to any employer who wants to hire them. Businesses fail all the time. How could they even attempt to become a success unless they can hire the best talent to fill their requirements?

      The article specifically stated the XFL is a complimentary league, not a competitor.

      • Tony

        August 30, 2019 at 12:49 pm

        When you are talking about taking players like Trevor Lawrence you are now a competitor of the NFL. THe NFL has a very good relationship with college football…..Vince Mcmahon not so much.

        I think you might be forgetting how laughable McMahon’s last foray into pro football ended up being. Leaving college right now for this league would be one of the worst moves these players could make for their career. If the XFL can prove itself over a course of say five or ten years and show it is a respectable league then you might reasonably start talking about the XFL being a better path than college football. But not right now when its yet to be proven that there is even a market for a second pro football league. And not right now when we are talking about a league run by Vince Mcmahon who has been nothing but a failure in the football business up to this point.

        • Johnny Lucas

          August 31, 2019 at 6:39 pm

          Tony,

          If players like Trevor Lawrence are not even allowed to play in the NFL, the the XFL cannot be a competitor. It’s understood any active XFL player who is eligible to switch over to the NFL will be given the opportunity. The AAF allowed that flexibility and so will the XFL. Trying to hold a player hostage from going to the big time is not a realistic scenario.

          Since Lawrence is not NFL eligible, signing with the XFL is not competitive, but complimentary. The NFL is happy to have a developmental/supplemental league beyond college. The NFL network would not have televised AAF games if they were viewed as a competitor. The NFL is not the least bit threatened by a minor football league.

  5. BuckeyeTed

    August 28, 2019 at 7:33 am

    Agree! Best for him to stay right where he is and continue to develop under an established program. He will make plenty of money when he is a well developed talent.

    • Johnny Lucas

      August 28, 2019 at 11:45 pm

      Buckeye Ted,

      That’s a logical approach, but the fear of career ending injury and earning a salary are powerful motivators to leave early. It’s done every year when college athletes forfeit their remaining eligibility even with a full scholarship.

      • Tony

        August 30, 2019 at 12:30 pm

        College players leaving established programs that are experienced at developing talent for the nfl for an unestablished pro league run by a guy who completely failed at his last attempt at pro football would be one of the worst decisions they could make.

        If the XFL is still around five or ten years from now then it might be a different story. But for right now the XFL needs to prove it can become a respectable league before college talent starts passing up college for the XFL. Yes they could get paid in the XFL but the pay would be mere pennies compared to what they would make in the NFL and there is no reason right now to pass up an established developmental system for an unestablished developmental program run by a guy who up to this point has been a complete joke in the football business.

        • Scott

          August 30, 2019 at 6:25 pm

          So the commissioner Oliver luck is a joke? All these coaches with nfl backgrounds is a joke? It would be a great opportunity for a young player to go to the xfl to develop his talents with former nfl guys that have contacts inside the nfl

          • Tony

            August 31, 2019 at 1:42 pm

            THe AAF had just as much if not more NFL experience than the XFL does and look how long it lasted. In anycase the real issue is Vince Mcmahon. You just can’t get around the fact that his first attempt at pro football was a complete joke. Any league that has him involved in it is going to have to prove itself. Chances are slim this league will last to year five. But if it does and it has succeeded in gaining a certain degree of respectability then you can talk about college players choosing it over college. But until then this really isn’t even worth talking about. There is absolutely no reason for college players to choose the XFL until it proves it can sustain itself and isn’t just a bud of a bunch of jokes like McMahon’s previous league was.

        • Johnny Lucas

          August 31, 2019 at 6:44 pm

          Tony,

          The article specified whether or not leaving college early for the XFL salary would be worthwhile. Injury, incompatible talent or a scheme poorly suited to the strengths of a player would be powerful disincentives. There haven’t been any reasons to believe Lawrence is anywhere near ready to make that decision, especially with the NCAA season now underway. There’s no hurry whatsoever.

        • Johnny Lucas

          August 31, 2019 at 6:59 pm

          Tony,

          The AAF failed because Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian put their faith in Reggie Fowler despite his history of financial, legal and credibility problems. Not surprisingly, he failed to come through on the commitment he made, forcing the league to find another sponsor quickly; hence Tom Dundon.

          His laughable demand to borrow NFL practice squad players was met with predictable indifference by the NFL which isn’t the least bit threatened by another league. Shutting the league down didn’t faze the NFL since they had not assumed any risk.

          Dundon didn’t realize the difference between owning one team in an established professional sports league (NHL) versus funding every team and paying all associated costs in a startup professional sports league (AAF) which ran about $10 million every week. He burned through approximately $70 million and didn’t want to spend any more. Borrowing the NFL’s worst players would not have made any difference since fans are only scarcely aware (if at all) of fourth stringers on their teams.

          Your misguided fixation on the original XFL failure is not applicable to the year 2020, the existence of the internet, two year preparation, experienced personnel, learning from the 2001 iteration and those of the other spring leagues.

          If a college star is not eligible for the NFL but can make the jump to the XFL getting a salary and big endorsement deals, then slide over to the NFL when he becomes eligible, everybody wins.

          • Tony

            August 31, 2019 at 11:19 pm

            Well Johnny you can be a fan of this league and Vince Mcmahon if you want. However its yet to be proven that there is even a market for a spring football league. The track record for spring leagues going back all the way to the ’70’s isn’t good at all. And now the same character who arguably created the worst spring league in history is back for round 2. Chances are extremely slim XFL 2020 will make it to year three. Until it can prove it can make it past that point there isn’t any reason at all to have this conversation about it being a better option then college football for college athletes.

            And you should compare XFL 2020 to the original when it is being created by the same guy.

  6. Tony

    August 31, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    Even though football is the #1 sport in the country most are generally ready for a break from it by the time spring roles around and they aren’t going to put up with preseason level of play (or even lower than that) from a bunch of teams that they have absolutely no attachment to at all.

    • Johnny Lucas

      September 1, 2019 at 12:43 am

      Tony,

      We will find out if there is a market for spring football. Culture, technology and interests change over time. The emergence of cable TV, the internet and portable devices (cell phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) provide exposure and access like never before. That is why your repeated and false comparison to a spring league 19 years ago is not applicable.

      Each attempt at a new outdoor football league has different protocols, funding, locations, marketing and talent. The failures have occurred for different reasons. The AAF example was entirely avoidable with securing a reliable funding source and not rushing into an immediate launch, unlike the XFL which has taken a very slow, deliberate, measured approach. The league is populated by respected and experienced personnel.

      Your determined animosity for Vince McMahon and erroneously assuming he’s learned nothing in 19 years is myopic and naive. He has secured approximately $200 million entirely funded by himself, removing any chance of an outsider failing to deliver. He is far from being the “same guy”. He’s not a billionaire by accident and he’s hired the right people who know what they’re doing, starting with Oliver Luck.

      He’s announced significant changes from the 2001 league that have been discarded and new rules and policies implemented (articles on this site specify them). The XFL has multiple prime cable channels unlike the Saturday night only broadcast NBC deal that ended when it conflicted with Saturday Night Live and the upcoming Olympics.

      If a college athlete ineligible for the NFL can get a salary and big endorsement deals, those are two good reasons the XFL is a better option. He can have the best of all worlds by making money, getting namesake merchandise, commercials, magazine covers, paid interviews, etc., then move over to the NFL when he becomes eligible. An entirely plausible option. Some will remain in a successful college system while improving their skills, while others will jump at the chance for professional work.

      Your view fans lose interest in professional football after the Super Bowl is belied by four arena leagues. None of them would exist without public support. The AAF’s ratings would have been far worse and fans wouldn’t show such avid interest in the NFL’s combine which isn’t even an on-field contest.

      Fans develop attachments to new teams, proven over the decades by expansion franchises. Cities that don’t have other pro football teams are especially enthused by having a team of their own; hence Birmingham and San Antonio, along with many of the arena teams. The XFL has preferred to populate the league in NFL cities with the exception of the recently vacated St. Louis as a prime location to recapture fans who want a local pro football team.

      The AAF had respectable ratings and some good attendance numbers, especially in San Antonio. Some of the huge stadium capacities gave an unfair image of ticket sales. The league would still be in business if they avoided Reggie Fowler and took their time. The XFL learned from the AAF’s mistakes, along all the others like the USFL that wanted to go head to head with the NFL.

      Your stubborn insistence McMahon hasn’t learned anything and will run the new XFL like the old one is entirely false. Ignoring all the media advances, multi network deals, two year planning period, learning from other leagues and the technological advancements over 19 years is also a mistake.

      If you really have such disdain for McMahon, the league and insist on its demise, we have to wonder why you’re on this website in the first place.

  7. Tony

    September 1, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Johnny the internet and cable tv culture we have these days infact makes it more difficult for new leagues. As now everyone can actively participate in the NFL and college football and don’t have to rely on living near a team in order to become a die hard fan. I participate in a community that is full of bonafide football historians and they are all saying right now that the fact that Landry Jones was the first signee of the XFL and will likely become one of their marquee players is not a good sign for the league. A career NFL back-up being one of the leagues best players is not what people want to see these days.

    College football excels because of the brand it has and the fact that it doesn’t define itself as a pro league. When you do define yourself as a professional league then that carries a certain amount of expectations. Expectations that new leagues these days generally can’t meet. As far as Arena football. For starters it is dying off as well and secondly it is an entirely different game played on a field half the size as traditional football. You really shouldn’t even use the Arena game as an example. And I am here because I am a football fan. THe fact that nobody is defending this league other than the people who are working on this site is a little telling about how much excitement there is for it out there.

    • Johnny Lucas

      September 1, 2019 at 7:39 pm

      Tony,

      The internet, cable TV and mobile devices allow people to watch anywhere instead of having to be at home. The same for checking scores, injury updates, breaking news, player developments, fantasy players and so on. Fans have more options to be connected to their leagues, teams and players like never before. Updates come automatically on their phones and websites stay updated on developing stories. Replays of highlights and entire games are also available on cable and mobile devices. Far from being more difficult, all the leagues take full advantage of every platform available. The arena leagues have their games on Youtube among other methods. Sports fans tune in to ESPN, ESPN2 and FS1 to see what’s playing. That’s where the XFL will be every weekend after fans are looking for something to watch after the NFL has exited their lives. Games will also be on Fox and ABC with ads for XFL games during prime time shows. Before the season ends, don’t be surprised if the NFL Network jumps in for a simulcast or exclusive site just as they did for the AAF.

      How many “bonafide football historians” in your community did you interview? What qualifies them as such? Can you share your research findings with us so we can review them?

      Career backups populating the rosters of a spring league is hardly a secret or surprise. The ratings and attendance at AAF games prove fan interest continues beyond the Super Bowl even with NFL backups. Apparently they were good enough for people to see.

      College football excels because it’s a developmental league for the NFL with students who also attend classes with other non-athletes and have friends, neighbors and relatives who know the players personally. There are thousands of colleges covering every corner of the nation, even in rural states. Expectations are those for teenagers and those in their early 20’s learning the complexities of organized football. Quite a different set of expectations.

      There’s a professional rugby league among many others you had no idea existed, so many new leagues meet the expectations while others do not and fold accordingly.

      If arena football is “dying off” why did the AFL expand by two teams for 2019? Another new league began play last year (AAL), and yet another (NAL) expanded in 2018, scheduled to expand again with four more teams in 2020.

      The differences between indoor and outdoor football do not change the fact both are professional football leagues. Arena ball is undeniably an inferior product of talent than either the AAF or XFL. How many arena players can you name offhand versus those who played in the AAF? NFL fans know who Landry Jones, Trent Richardson and Johnny Manziel are. They probably don’t know who Tommy Grady or B.J. Bunn are.

      If you’re a football fan, you should be rooting for the XFL to succeed, not fail while trash talking about the league owner. Falsely asserting McMahon of learning nothing from 2001, ignoring all the highly respected league personnel, the meticulous infrastructure development, television exposure, self financing and popularity of the AAF is narrow pessimism. It seems your personal hatred of McMahon and inflexible determination to want the XFL to fail defeats the purpose of spending time on this site.

      I welcome you to provide evidence (along with the “bonafide football historians” you interviewed) that nobody defends the XFL except the writers. If you cannot, that’s very telling you’re stuck in a rooting for failure position regardless of evidence to the contrary.

      Your comments are still welcome and we appreciate your input. Maybe you’ll ease up on the hatred for a new outdoor pro football league, Vince McMahon himself and support the XFL with at least a bit of hopeful optimism. The league might fail, but it might also succeed. We welcome you to join the rest of us on the glass-half-full side.

      • Tony

        September 1, 2019 at 8:28 pm

        Johhny we might as well stop talking as we both simply have different viewpoints. In regards to where I am getting the info regarding what football historians said it is coming from the professional football researchers association’ website. Several of the people there have published books out in the market, members have occasionally been interviewed by NFL films, and the person that put the group together was one of the key writers of the Total Football book series (Bob Carroll).

        • Tony

          September 1, 2019 at 8:33 pm

          Johnny if you care at all about football history you should check out some of the stuff they wrote in the coffin corner section as it is quite impressive. Also take a look at what they say in the boards as right now there is a big discussion about the 1967 Browns.

        • Johnny Lucas

          September 2, 2019 at 2:26 pm

          Tony, I welcome you to point out where my comments were viewpoints instead of facts. Your repetitive and seething animosity for Vince McMahon seems to feed your burning desire for the league to fail, insisting all the differences from 19 years ago are to be ignored. That’s quite a viewpoint without any substance.

          Your “community” turns out to be a website run by approximately 9 people. Their work consists of statistical compilations and historical anecdotes of games, players, scores, personal stories and other peripheral data. There’s no indication they are a special authority to predict the likelihood of success or failure of a secondary pro football league more than anyone else. Ironically, they’ve shown ignorance of the subject by falsely asserting a career backup QB is “not a good sign”. On the contrary, that is precisely the “sign” expected by a secondary league. I addressed this in the third paragraph of my previous post.

          It’s a given fact a spring league will fill their rosters with former NFL backups, practice squad cuts and undrafted college players. This very article emphasized top college talent too young to qualify for the NFL draft. What other “sign” should there be? Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson and Derek Carr should not be expected to be signed by any XFL teams as a “good” sign.

          There’s no surprise second and lower string QB’s fill the rosters of minor league teams. The expectations of your “community” were seriously naive to expect otherwise. Getting interviewed by NFL films about the NFL, statistical data and historical events does not correlate to special insight on the odds of success for minor league football. If there’s more to your historians analyses, it’s not worth the $35 membership fee to find out.

          It’s common knowledge all previous spring leagues have failed; all for different reasons as I’ve outlined in this comment thread and the article above. Preparation and planning for the XFL has been patiently meticulous and thorough. The TV deals and secure financing are positive signs this league will have a fair chance to make it in the long run.

          Another 10 team spring/summer league is in development, but I doubt it will have the funds to launch. Its politically driven agenda is also a risky strategy that could turn off large numbers of potential fans. A mini four team league is also planned that will compete with the XFL for ineligibile college talent and recent high school graduates that forgo college entirely. As a football fan, I root for them all.

          Your statement of being a football fan is welcome, but adamant and biased resentment for a league owner and demanding it will fail is not the best course for a fan to take. Being realistic of past spring league failures is important, but so is realzing the care, effort and financial security of the XFL that has positioned itself for success, especially in light of the positives we saw from the AAF.

          I extend the welcome mat (again) to help us support this exciting new venture of exciting, fast paced football in the spring of 2020.

          • Tony

            September 2, 2019 at 4:20 pm

            Johnny check out this link where it lists the books that have been published. You can find them on amazon.

            http://www.profootballresearchers.org/pfra-books.html

            No offense but they are just a little bit more knowledgeable than you are.

            Now good day as quite honestly you just aren’t worth talking to anylonger

        • Johnny Lucas

          September 3, 2019 at 7:40 pm

          Tony,

          Your insistence the 9 person “community” are more knowledgeable to comment on the likelihood of XFL 2020 success based on publishing books is quite specious. Anyone can get a football book published about any subject. It hardly means they have special authority to know any better than the rest of us regarding the odds of whether a secondary professional football league will make it.

          The link you provided lists 19 books (3 links did not work). Only one of them even comes close to being relevant and it’s really just a biography of Joe Carr and his administrative acumen of a pre-existing league. His tenure was from 1921-1939. His forte was writing the rules, record and fact book, divisional alignment, draft development, league statistics and owner recruitment. The latter is notable for league financial stability, but there’s no indication regarding creating a pro football league from scratch, especially when the time period was almost 100 years ago.

          The rest of the books are either one dimensional (a specific team in a specific season), a general history of football from ancient times until the end of the 19th century, European football, WWII era leagues, NFL head coaches, ranking players of one team, focus on quarterbacks, etc. The clear interest and focus of your “community” is that of biographies, anecdotes, statistical analysis, personal stories, player rankings, other countries and leagues from 50-100 years ago.

          Our debate has gone very badly for you, so I understand your frustration to hang on by any means, even if you resort to putting your 9 person “community” on a pedestal as a fake authority on 21st century spring football. Their passion for the sport is notable, but their “historian” label is limited to the context of specific teams, players, coaches, statistics and stories, not how contemporary professional football leagues are created, funded, administrated, executed, planned and sustained. If you have information relevant to the subject here, you’re welcome to provide it.

          I hardly would take any offense by football historians shedding light on intimate details of the 1966 Packers, 1958 Colts, top 50 Bills players ever, NFL coaching biographies, semi-pro football or European football from 1897 to the late 1970’s. Interest in those topics are well and good, but to suggest they know more than any of us about the XFL, how a 21st century pro football league is created, funded, managed and sustained is not a serious viewpoint.

          If the “community” really said the Landry Jones acquisition is “not a good sign”, they admit their own ignorance and should not be given any credence. In fact, they would know less than the other readers and commenters on this site. Paragraphs 3-5 of my previous post illustrate why, so review them and you’ll understand if you’re willing to be open minded. If your quote is not correct, you owe the “community” an apology. We await an example of which QB would be a “good” sign for the league.

          A football fan doesn’t persistently exhibit hatred and root for a complimentary league to fail. We all know the risks and history of previous leagues. The 2020 attempt is making all the right moves to increase the odds of success. Hopefully you’ll ally yourself with us and support the XFL with cautious optimism. A genuine football fan would do no less.

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