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Can XFL players sign with NFL teams?

We break down if XFL players are allowed to sign with the NFL while under contract in the XFL.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 03: Josh Gordon #19 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 3, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The XFL will mark the debut of its 2023 season when it returns on Feb. 18, but there may be some confusion as to where the league stands alongside the NFL. Is the former a pipeline for talent to cross over into the latter, or is it a standalone league in itself? And namely, is it even feasible for an XFL player to join an NFL roster?

We break down the latter question, which is sure to be top of mind for fans that will tune in for the league’s return this weekend.

Players who make an XFL roster out of training camp will be signed to a minimum one-year contract. The base salary is $59,000, which is reportedly $5,000 more than what the USFL offers. Players also will be paid $5,000 per game and will receive a $1,000 bonus for every win.

Following the conclusion of the season, there is the chance a player can find themselves on an NFL roster. While it is possible that an XFL player can eventually sign with an NFL team, the league’s new ownership group, led by Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia, has made it clear that their intention is not to be a “feeder” league for the NFL. While the two organizations announced back in February 2022 that they would collaborate in regard to testing rules and innovations, the longstanding purpose has been for the XFL to be a standalone football league of top-tier quality.

Essentially, the XFL will still be its own independent entity but will work with the NFL to implement innovations that will change the game for the better. That means an XFL player can indeed sign onto an NFL roster following the season, although it is not the first priority for the XFL.

That being said, there have already been instances of an XFL player both making it onto an NFL roster and even playing snaps in the NFL. PJ Walker, who was a quarterback for the Houston Roughnecks in the 2020 season, became the first XFL player to sign an NFL contract, inking a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. Walker would go on to start seven games for the Panthers, completing 131 passes for 1,461 yards and five touchdowns.