The XFL has acquired the necessary eight head coaches ahead of its inaugural season, and now the real work beings: finding players.
The XFL will spend this summer hosting showcases in all eight league cities; each showcase will contain around 100 players, and will be invite-only. The league will target primarily target players with professional experience, either through the NFL, the CFL or the AAF — or all three.
But that’s not all. XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said the league will invite a small number of active college players to their showcases.
“We’re targeting about 100 players per showcase,” Luck told ProFootballTalk. “We think about 90, maybe even 95 of those are going to be guys with prior experience, and the remainder, a relatively small group, would be current college football players. . . . A college kid could come to our showcase, get all the testing, and not in any way put his eligibility in jeopardy.”
It remains to be seen whether those players are juniors and seniors or freshman and sophomores, thereby turning the XFL into a competitor with their college teams.
Once the final showcase ends on July 13, the XFL will begin signing players. Those players will be communal property of the league until the inaugural XFL draft in late September or early October, after the NFL makes its final roster cuts. Players signed over the summer will be permitted to leave and sign with NFL clubs, but once the draft commences and players are placed with their as-yet-unnamed teams, the XFL will require players to honor their contracts.
College players who attend the XFL’s summer showcases will be signed after their respective seasons end, according to Luck.
Unlike the AAF, the XFL will target players who fit the league’s profile, rather than swerving toward former college players with ties to local franchises.
“We’re going to focus on the best players we believe are suitable for the kind of league we want to play, which is up-tempo, fast-paced,” he said. “I’m not sure we’re going to sign guys just because they have a big name. . . . We are not having any sort of geographical allocation.”
The inaugural XFL 2.0 season begins Saturday, Feb. 8.