At first, it seemed following the end of the USFL season, the NFL, was ignoring the USFL players, with no deals announced for two weeks following the Championship Game. Many critics in the know, already knew it wasn’t due to lack of interest, it was due to a lack of NFL personnel at work. The NFL typically hits a slow time during the middle of July and usually looks to take their time away from the game during this stretch. Turns out this was exactly what was holding back the USFL players heading to the NFL.
Back From Vacation
Now that the pro scouts and general managers are back in the building as we near August, player signings, and interest seem to be coming quickly now. At the time of writing this so far, we have had six players signed to NFL teams, with the first three players signed to the NFC East. Now the interest is beginning to look more widespread.
With New England, Pittsburgh, and Las Vegas finally signing their first USFL players, the AFC decided to jump into the fray. So far of the 6 players to sign deals, just 1 of them plays offense. That man is wide receiver, Isaiah Zuber.
Zuber joins the Las Vegas Raiders under head coach Josh McDaniels, this connection is significant because Zuber has played under McDaniels with the Patriots for the past two seasons and has knowledge of the system. The reception touchdown leader for the USFL (5), finds himself as the first offensive player making the leap.
Patriots Get Defensive Line Depth
The Patriots did the most Patriots thing you could do and signed a player from the worst team in terms of 2022 USFL records, the Pittsburgh Maulers. Drafted in the 7th round of the USFL draft he went on to collect 22 tackles, and 2 sacks in the USFL this season.
Hailing from a Power 5 school the odds were certainly stacked against Jeremiah Pharms Jr. before the 2022 USFL season. However, the Patriots love his versatility, and will likely find a way to get him on the roster in 2022.
Steelers Try Out Five, Sign One
The Steelers out of nowhere have shown the most interest in USFL players so far working out five of them since the season ended:
With that being said the man who ultimately made the biggest impression was DT Doug Costin from the Champion Birmingham Stallions. The Stallions defender had a solid season after signing in late May, logging 6 tackles, and .5 sacks in his limited time with the Stallions. He had spent the previous two seasons in the NFL with the Jaguars, so it appears the USFL helped him lift his status in the league’s eyes.
Vito the man who led the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2022 has started to receive NFL interest. One of the older players to receive a workout invite, Victor is a running back who may be a smaller guy at 5’9 but runs with power at 205 lbs. He is also versatile, and able to help in the passing game and on special teams. The Saints have invited him for a workout.
Ironically players like Donald Payne Jr, Chris Odom, Kyle Sloter, and others still sit on the open market not yet receiving a contract offer they have signed. Many have speculated that we could see as many as 40 players signed by the NFL out of the USFL, but the fact remains that as of now, many of the top performers, and league leaders remain NFL free agents. I expect a few of these guys to come off the market soon, but the question is how long will they have to wait?
For More Coverage
Stay with USFL News Hub all off season.