On Thursday evening, the XFL became the latest sports league to suspend operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, freeing up a new pool of players on the eve of NFL free agency.
It’s possible that a few of those players could become members of the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Currently, the XFL will not be playing its regular-season games,” XFL commissioner Oliver Luck told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. “However, all players will be paid their base pay and benefits for the 2020 regular season. All XFL ticket holders will be issued refunds or credit toward future games.”
Unlike other leagues like the NBA — which could resume operations and continue with their season if conditions change in the next 30 days or so — the XFL is now done for the 2020 season. Luck made it clear, however, that the league is “fully committed” to resuming operations in 2021.
The XFL has advised its players that once their exit physicals are complete on Friday, they will be free to sign with a team in any other league — including the NFL.
So there is now a new group of players for NFL general managers to consider just before free agency begins. The NFL had anticipated there would be some XFL players who would jump to the NFL once their 2020 XFL obligations had ended, but that wasn’t expected to happen until April 27 — two days after the NFL Draft.
While Chiefs general manager Brett Veach waits for NFLPA players to finish voting on their new Collective Bargaining Agreement — whose outcome will determine the rules under which the league will operate in 2020 — he might be considering some XFL players who distinguished themselves during the league’s shortened season.
Those could include defensive tackle Cavon Walker, who led the XFL in sacks after being with the Chiefs during their 2019 training camp. Wide receiver Jalen Tolliver, linebacker D’Juan Hines, and safety Andrew Soroh could also find their way back to the team. Former South Florida (and Arizona Cardinals) cornerback Deatrick Nichols led the XFL in interceptions for the Houston Roughnecks.
It will be just one more thing to consider during what will likely be a very busy few days in the NFL.