The former No. 3 overall pick has a chance to have a meaningful second act with the XFL. Richardson is widely considered one of the biggest drafts busts of the past decade. A star at Alabama, Richardson struggled to find his groove in the NFL. He was traded from the Browns to the Colts after just one season, and boasts a lifetime 3.3 yard per carry average. T-Rich found some success in the Alliance of American Football – Richardson is the league’s all-time leading scorer – and could make an even bigger impact on a big stage like the XFL.
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There is no denying Josh Gordon’s talent. As a 22-year-old, Gordon hauled in 87 passes for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. Unfortunately, Gordon’s All-Pro season was not a sign of things to come. The superb talent played in only five games from 2014-16 — missing two full-years due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Gordon returned in ’17, but has had trouble staying on the field due to injuries and lingering substance issues. He remains a free agent after a promising season with the Seahawks in ’19. Perhaps the XFL is what Gordon needs — a chance to take a breath away from the pressures of the NFL.
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We have to see this one. Cutler’s salty personality has been well chronicled since he played in the NFL. We’ve then seen another side to him on his family’s reality show. He’s a kind man — though also one with sarcasm and a keen sense of humor. Cutler’s cavalier style of play would play up here in the XFL. The recently-single Cutler has some fuel left in the tank and could bring in one more payday before calling it quits for one final time. He’d immediately become the most talented quarterback in the league’s short history.
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Another quarterback with name recognition is Sanchez. The butt fumble fiasco will forever be an indelible mark on his career. Transitioning from the announcing booth to the field would be equally as hilarious. Remember, he was a former No. 5 Overall pick not too long ago. The talent is still there for him to compete in this league. Truthfully, we’d also love to see some sideline reporter hurriedly run up to Sanchez to interview him after his fourth interception of the game (we’re projecting on his INT total, but roll with us here).
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Vontaze Burfict is a highly-talented football player. However, Burfict is also extremely prone to being fined and suspended by the NFL. Following a late hit in the 2019 season, Burfict was suspended for the remainder of the season and was forced to miss the Raiders’ final 12 games. Having forfeited over $5 million in fines since his career began, Burfict would be better off leaving the NFL for the XFL. Instead of playing on eggshells, Burfict would be playing with a clean state in McMahon’s league. Not only would he be the best defensive player in the league, Burfict would be an absolute joy to watch on the sidelines. With the XFL’s innovative in-game interview system, Burfict would shine.
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It’s confounding that Bryant isn’t currently signed to an NFL roster. The former Cowboy was an absolute monster in Dallas for nearly a decade. From 2010-17 (113 career games), Bryant reached pay dirt 73 times – a mark only bested by Rob Gronkowski over the same span. Additionally, Bryant’s go-to touchdown during his NFL career celebration was “throwing up the ‘X’” – making this match too perfect to resist.
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Chancellor retired from the league a few years ago. Regardless, we could see him coming back to terrorize XFL wide receivers. Chancellor is far too great of a competitor to just retire in his prime. While NFL teams may come calling, he’d stand a better chance of being an impact player in the XFL. No receiver would dare cross the heart of the field on a slant or post with Chancellor and his patented dark visor waiting to decapitate someone.
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A massive star while at the University of Florida, Tim Tebow never quite found his stride in the NFL. After leading the Denver Broncos to a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2011 Playoffs, Tebow made just one more start at quarterback for the team before being jettisoned to the New York Jets. Failing to catch on in New York — and later New England and Philadelphia — Tebow opted to try his luck in baseball. Through four years in the Minors, the Heisman winner has hit .223. So, Tim, it’s time to relive your dream of being a starting quarterback. Bless the XFL with your presence — lead the Los Angeles Wildcats to glory.
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The enigmatic receiver keeps in wonderful shape (despite being 42 years of age). This is further echoed by the fact Johnson played with Boca Raton FC in 2019. His ability to put on a show would be highly welcomed by the fan base, as well as the XFL’s marketing operation. He’ll draw people to games, and might even still have some magic left in his legs.
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Robert Griffin III
RGIII has experienced the proverbial highs and lows as it pertains to being an NFL player. At one point, he was arguably the most exciting talent in the league. Now, he’s operating as a backup quarterback for Lamar Jackson. Jackson’s ascension to an MVP-caliber player shuts the door on any playing time for Griffin in the interim, but the former Baylor QB could become a star in a new league. While he likely doesn’t have the speed or quickness that he once had, we’d love for Griffin to get a shot as a starting QB in the XFL. He wasn’t too far removed from being a Pro Bowl player.
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The diminutive Masoli was the architect behind one of Chip Kelly’s most successful Oregon teams. While he didn’t get a sniff in the NFL, he’s been highly successful in the CFL. Masoli accrued three-straight seasons with at least 15 TD throws and 2,695 yards passing. His most prolific year came in 2018 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5,209 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, 473 rushing yards, 66.0% completion rate). With such an impressive resume, we’d love to see Masoli get a shot in the XFL.
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Believe it or not, TO is 46 years old – and looks like he’s in game shape to this day. No. 3 on the all-time receiving touchdown list, Owens is one of the all-time great wideouts in the game’s history. He showed off he can still scoot recently in a video where he raced with the NFL’s current King of speed Tyreek Hill. It comes as no surprise that Owens remains an athletic anomaly. Even in his last season in the pros, Owens was still producing for the Cincinnati Bengals where he posted a 72-catch, 986-yard season as a 37-year-old in his 15th season.
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A 31-year-old with four All-Pro selections and seven Pro Bowls under his belt, Antonio Brown clearly has enough gas left in the tank to continue his football career despite not being currently signed to a team. Brown is set to serve an eight-game suspension to being to the 2020 season, so why not forgo that sentence and get right back onto the field through the XFL. One of the all-time greats, Brown shouldn’t waste another day of his athletic prime. Better yet, Brown should team up with Colin Kaepernick or Johnny Manziel to form the greatest QB/WR duo in XFL history. If Mr. Big Chest wants to prove he can be a valuable asset to a team, the XFL is the perfect place to start.
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At one time, Roman Reigns (real name Joe Anoa’i) was a football player for Georgia Tech. His senior year was quite impressive, as he notched 4.5 sacks, 40 tackles, and 9.0 tackles-for-loss. The first-team All-ACC honoree had briefs looks with the Minnesota Vikings and the Jacksonville Jaguars before playing sparingly in the CFL. Though he’s 34 years of age, Reigns is in supreme shape. He’d be a major shot in the arm to the XFL from a popularity standpoint. Duly, he’s quite familiar to XFL owner Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
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Like Tim Tebow, Brock Osweiler spent most of his NFL career with the Denver Broncos. Drafted by the organization in 2012, Osweiler made 11 starts for the team in five years. However, Osweiler’s 0-4 stretch during the ’17 season ultimately ended his time in Denver. Alas, the 6-foot-7 gargantuan comically known as ‘Lobster’, Osweiler found his way to Miami for one more season. Despite a decent showing, the tall QB decided to hang up his cleats the following year. This was a mistake. In the XFL, Osweiler would excel. A young 29, Osweiler would be the perfect QB to lead the Tampa Bay Vipers to the promised land.
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Unlike some of the other rushers on this list, Lacy actually found some success during his NFL career. The 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year scored 29 touchdowns in his first three seasons, and had a few impressive postseason performances. Though Lacy has likely lost some speed, agility, and explosivness over the years, he’s still a tough runner to bring down and could thrive in the hard-hitting XFL.
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Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones
Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones enjoyed a lengthy career. The No. 6 overall pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2005, Jones would go on to play 12 seasons in the league. Earning All-Pro honors in 2014, Jones forced five turnovers and dominated as a kick returner. Although he would be one of the older players in the league, Jones’ ability and personality would be a tremendous boon for the league. Not to mention, Vince McMahon would surely love Jones’ wrestling background.
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Between the various point after touchdown options, the shortened game clock, and the lack of targeting rules, the XFL has geared its league toward more points, excitement and action. So why not kick it up another notch? Let’s get kickers involved. Anybody can kick a ball through two giant bars – it takes a true marksman to nail the upright head-on. Enter, Mr. Double Doink. The former Pro Bowler (back in 2014) would probably be the NFL’s all-time leader in scoring if they granted extra points for clanking it off the cross bar. Sorry, Bears fans – we’ll make sure to keep Parkey away if the XFL ever grants Chicago an expansion team.
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Entertainment and talent is all the XFL should be worried about during these early stages. McAfee provides both. The former All-Pro punter retired during the prime of his career after spending eight years with the Colts. Since calling it quits, McAfee has taken the media world by storm having done work for ESPN, Fox Sports, WWE, Barstool Sports and DAZN. He hosts his own podcast and has emerged as one of the most colorful talents in the sport. And by all accounts, it seems like he hasn’t lost the thunder in his leg. Sign this man up and put a microphone in his helmet immediately.
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It wasn’t too long ago that Johnny Manziel was one of the biggest names in American sports. In the build up to winning the 2012 Heisman Trophy, Manziel amazed fans on a weekly basis and energized college football. Upon entering the NFL, Manziel had the hopes of an entire city on his shoulders. That city — Cleveland — quickly realized it was false hope. Manziel floundered and was out of the NFL after just two years. Short stints in the CFL and AAF didn’t do much to revive Manziel’s once promising career. However, the XFL would do just that. Manziel would immediately become the biggest star. Who wouldn’t want a trip down memory lane?
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Could XFL owner and WWE chairman Vince McMahon have a couple of tricks up his sleeve? Could one of his stars be making the transition from the squared circle to the gridiron? It would assuredly be a bold move by McMahon to risk one his top talents in a game of football, but this is the same guy that sanctioned an actual boxing match between one his employees (Bart Gunn) and Butterbean (yes, that Butterbean) on WWE programming. Butterbean proceeded to knock Gunn out cold in 35 seconds.
Now Lesnar wouldn’t be at quite as much of a disadvantage as Gunn considering the current WWE champion has had some experience with football (Lesnar was a member of the Minnesota Vikings practice squad in 2004). Seeing the Beast Incarnate on the field would be pure entertainment – especially if that means we can get Paul Heyman patrolling the sideline.
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Its been a year since Luck shocked the NFL world by announcing his retirement after seven seasons in the league. Could Luck be convinced to make a return to the football field? The idea doesn’t seem too far-fetched when you consider Luck’s father, Oliver Luck, is the Commissioner of the XFL. Luck would instantly be the league’s top talent. It’s a long-shot considering Luck made nearly $100 million over his playing career and has nursed several injuries over the years, but he would do wonders in legitimatizing the league as a true competitor to the NFL.
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Forget the controversies surrounding Kaepernick for a moment and think about the possibilities on the field. Now 33, Kaepernick’s athletic peak is likely coming to an end. So, with the NFL currently not an option, why not give the XFL a shot? Kaepernick could demonstrate that he still has the skill necessary to start in the NFL. A dominant showing in Vince McMahon’s league would make it even harder for the other league to ignore Kaepernick’s ability. Adding the former Niner to the fold would only help the XFL’s rise.
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Rice played his last NFL down in 2013, and has reportedly attempted to make several comebacks since then. Many would say Rice doesn’t deserve a second chance following his appalling domestic violence case with his then fiancée Janay Palmer. It would be completely fair to believe that. Rice cannot undo his heinous acts, though he’s attempted to make amends by giving speeches on domestic abuse and trying to hold a helping hand to other NFL players who may be going down the wrong path. It would certainly be a compelling story if Rice made his return to the field, though we are unsure how much tread is left on those tires.
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