Comparing XFL salaries, cap and NFL options with the CFL

The XFL sent a memo out to agents outlining player compensation details and what happens if the NFL comes calling for their clients.

Key points:

  • Once the season begins on February 8, 2020, players will be eligible for game activation fees (i.e., customary game checks) as well as victory bonuses. Game activation fees and victory bonuses are $1,685 and $2,222, respectively. Accordingly, a player may earn up to $4,947 per game week.
  • In total, the average XFL salary will be approximately $55,000 for players who remain on the active list of a team throughout the season, taking into account potential activation fees and bonuses that may be earned.
  • All game activation fees or victory bonuses due to a player will be paid on the regularly scheduled bi-weekly pay date. The 2019-20 XFL payroll schedule follows below.
  • Effective December 4, 2019, players will be eligible to participate in the XFL’s health insurance program – which includes medical, dental, and vision plans – at no charge for a player’s individual coverage. Players who are interested also may participate in the XFL’s 401(k) plan.

If at any time after the conclusion of the 2020 XFL championship game (April 25, 2020) a player receives and chooses to accept a written offer to sign a contract with an NFL team, the player will be free to play competitive football for such NFL team and the player’s XFL contract will be terminated.

Players who are drafted and retained by an XFL team will become full-time employees of the XFL on December 4, 2019 – after they report to mini-camp and upon execution of an XFL standard player contract.

As full-time employees, XFL players will be paid on a bi-weekly basis ($2,080 USD) from December 4 through May 31, 2020, if they remain on an XFL team for the complete 2020 season. A player’s first pay check will be issued on Friday, December 20, 2019.

For a salary comparison, according to sources, the average CFL player made around $84,000 CAD in 2018. Excluding quarterbacks, athletes from the United States earned approximately $93,000 CAD and Canadians $80,000 CAD. CFL players are paid after every game played. While the XFL’s approximate salary cap is $4 million, while the CFL’s is over $5.2 million.

The CFL reintroduced the NFL window in July 2018. The league had an option window from 1997 to 2012, which gave players entering the final year or option year of their deals an approximate six-week time span to work out for and sign with NFL teams. It was phased out as part of the collective bargaining process in 2012, but brought back to entice Americans to come north quicker without fear of being locked into contracts for two or three years.

The XFL had decided not to pursue players currently under contract in the CFL — active or practice roster. If a pact is discontinued then a player could be considered for the XFL. That means pending CFL free agents won’t be eligible to sign with XFL teams until mid-February. Vince McMahon’s league is scheduled to kick-off one week after the Super Bowl on February 8, 2020.

CFL teams won’t release players to join a rival league. If players from the three-down league wanted to wait it out and sign with an XFL team, athletes would be doing so after the first week of games.