NFL updates policy concerning signing XFL players as clubs remain prohibited from speaking with prospects

The XFL was forced to cut its inaugural season short due to the coronavirus, but the virus wasn’t supposed to affect the futures of the league’s stars. Following the decision to suspend play, a memo was sent to XFL players last week that stated “all players who receive a written request to negotiate, and/or sign, a contract with any professional team will be released from their contracts upon executing an XFL notice of termination.” However, those players hoping to land an NFL deal will have to wait a little longer.

On Tuesday night, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported that the NFL told its clubs that it “is working with the XFL to finalize procedures to permit NFL clubs to sign XFL players.” For now, NFL clubs remain prohibited from discussing employment with players under contract to the XFL. 

It’s unclear if “finalizing procedures” has anything to do with the coronavirus, but NFL executives and coaches did receive a memo the same night that could affect a few free agency deals

Players are prohibited from entering club facilities through March 31 and thus can’t have physical exams there. Similar to free agents, clubs can contact a physician near the player’s home — but some teams aren’t comfortable with that. The memo NFL executives and coaches received also recommended that clubs “should consider including contingency language in trade agreements to account for a scenario where a player is unable to take and pass a physical” because of special rules regarding the coronavirus. 

Either way, once NFL clubs are allowed to speak with XFL talent, there is sure to be plenty of interest. The Houston Roughnecks’ quarterback-receiver duo of P.J. Walker and Cam Phillips are sure to receive some interest. It seemed like every week one of them won the XFL “Star of the Week” Award. My colleague R.J. White wrote a piece on five XFL players who could land on their feet in the NFL this upcoming season. Check it out here.

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