Doorway To NFL Opens Monday for Many UFL Players

When one door closes, another one opens. That's the case for many UFL players who will be free to try out with NFL teams as soon as this Monday.

This weekend, the UFL season is ending for half the league's teams and players. But the dream of further advancing a career hasn't.

Per NFL policy, UFL players may begin to sign with NFL teams the day after the UFL championship game on June 16. However, players whose seasons have finished (i.e., non-playoff teams starting this coming Monday and playoff losers the following Monday) may try out with NFL teams the day after their final game.

As a result, players from the D.C. Defenders, Arlington Renegades, Houston Roughnecks and Memphis Showboats are immediately free to pursue NFL opportunities this Monday. Standouts from those teams, like Defenders edge rusher Malik Fisher or Memphis wide receiver Daewood Davis, will get an early jump in potentially latching onto an NFL roster.

A year ago, 111 players from the XFL and USFL signed with NFL teams. After the XFL season ended last May, nearly a hundred players got tryouts and minicamp invites, 69 of whom eventually signed NFL contracts. A select few from that group signed with multiple teams in camp and throughout the 2023 NFL season. The USFL saw 42 of its players in 2023 sign NFL contracts.

When the smoke settled on the NFL season in 2023, 35 USFL and XFL players ended the year on NFL rosters.

Beyond that, for the second year in a row, the USFL produced an All-Pro NFL player, with former Birmingham Stallions kicker Brandon Aubrey matching the accomplishment his Dallas Cowboys teammate and former New Jersey General Kavontae Turpin achieved the year prior.

The odds of spring pro football players making it in the NFL are a longshot. But to have a shot, you must get your foot in the door, either again or for the first time. That's the opportunity leagues like the UFL provide. The select few players who sign on with NFL teams validate the value of the UFL in the football landscape.

You can find Mike Mitchell on X @ByMikeMitchell.

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Mike Mitchell