As the XFL gets set to kick off in 2020, the league will soon draft players for its teams. A second-tier football league has yet to make a dent in the NFL’s stranglehold on the attention of the American public.
In order to get attention, the XFL will need recognizable players the fans already know. In turn, the XFL can serve as a place for these players to showcase what they have left to XFL teams.
Here are three former NFL players who should think about joining the XFL.
Colin Kaepernick is probably the best football player not in the NFL right now. The XFL bringing him on would make sense from two perspectives.
On the field, he’s probably overqualified to play. Kaepernick should, at the worst, be an NFL backup. In the best-case scenario, he’s earned the right to start for a team with a questionable quarterback situation. Rustiness aside, there’s little doubt that Kaepernick would be a solid addition to the XFL’s on-field product.
Off the field, it would also be a smart move from a marketing angle. While the XFL has made it clear they’d like to steer clear of politics, embracing Kaepernick would bring positive publicity from those interested in addressing issues related to social justice and racial inequality in this country.
Kaepernick wouldn’t even have to use the league as a platform for commentary – simply signing him would be enough to show the league doesn’t care about a player’s political stance, only their ability. And without question, Kaepernick has the ability to play in the XFL.
Tim Tebow’s been out of the NFL for quite a while at this point. That said, he did lead an NFL team to the playoffs. While the Denver Broncos needed to customize their offense to fit Tebow’s game, he not only got them into the postseason, he won a playoff game.
Tebow is also incredibly popular. A 2018 ESPN poll claimed that Tebow – currently playing in the New York Mets’ minor league system – was the most popular baseball player in the world. That Tebow plays at a low level with little chance to make the major league squad is a testament to his popularity. The odds are high that he’d draw significant interest for the XFL based on that popularity.
The XFL needs attention on its product. During his NFL playing days, fans and sports media would debate Tebow’s merits as a player endlessly. The question would arise whether a team could win long-term with an unconventional quarterback such as him under center. The same questions would pop up in the XFL – albeit on a smaller scale.
Media and fans alike would dissect Tebow’s performance, ability, and role on the team, keeping the XFL in the headlines.
After the Dallas Cowboys cut him, Dez Bryant was all set to suit up for the New Orleans Saints when he was injured. Now he’s healthy. If the workout videos he posts are any indication, he’s still in fantastic shape.
Bryant probably doesn’t have the same separation ability he did when he first entered the NFL. But he probably still has some productivity left in him. And he’d give the league name-recognition at a time when it will desperately need that.
For Bryant, it could also serve as an audition for the NFL. If he were to put a healthy, dominant season at what would effectively be football’s version of a minor league level, he could drum up interest from more NFL teams. As the NFL relies more and more on the passing game, quality receivers are always in need.