The XFL is sure to draw the attention of NFL scouts, Saints fans
The XFL season kicks off on Saturday, as football fans hope that the void left behind by the NFL can be filled by it over the next couple of months. After all, we've been told that this isn't the XFL we might remember from 2001. That failure saw NBC and Vince McMahon lose out on nearly $35 million of the original $100 million investment. The AAF (Alliance of American Football) had lots of promise, but folded quickly due to financial challenges. Still, some good came out of that, which saw some of those players head to the NFL and gave others opportunities.
So, why does any of this matter? For starters, some 13 former New Orleans Saints initially made the 52-man XFL rosters, which saw kicker Garrett Hartley quickly released from the Seattle Dragons due to a medical concern. Players like Hau'oli Kikaha, a former second-round draft pick by the team in 2015, are trying to prove themselves again. It's also a chance to see players like Darius Victor, a fan favorite during training camp and preseason from 2017. Obviously, the promise of simplified rules and quicker pace will intrigue fans who tune in, but more importantly the league should draw scouts of pro football teams.
The XFL contracts are designed to expire at the end of the season in late April just a day after the NFL draft, which will allow any of the players to sign with any other league. In turn, that should make for an interesting time corresponding with teams trying to finish locking down priority undrafted rookie free agents.
New Orleans, along with the other 31 NFL teams, have plenty of offseason needs ahead. Naturally, free agency and the draft will come first for the teams trying to improve and build out their 90-man rosters ahead of training camp. While there's no guarantee players will get signed by any of the clubs following their seasons, it does present an interesting option for standout players who don't exactly get paid top dollar in the XFL. It's also an opportunity for players like Kony Ealy, Cardale Jones, and even Marquette King to make their case for at least trying out with a team.
Opening weekend for the XFL gets started at 1 p.m. on ABC when the DC Defenders host the Seattle Dragons in a double-header. Following that game on FOX at 4 p.m., the Los Angeles Wildcats travel to take on the Houston Roughnecks. On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Vipers play the New York Guardians in the early game, while the St. Louis Battlehawks take on the Dallas Renegades late. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the unique rules the league has to offer.