The USFL to NFL pipeline continues as training camps are near. New Jersey Generals quarterback Luis Perez is the latest USFL 2022 player to sign on with an NFL team. The Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams have signed Luis Perez to a one-year contract. Perez is the 11th USFL player to have signed on with an NFL team since the revived league ended its season earlier this month.
USFL Opens Another Door Back To The NFL For Luis Perez
Luis Perez’s pro football career has returned to where it all started, as a member of the LA Rams. In 2018, the San Diego native and Harlon Hill Trophy winner as MVP in Division II at Texas A&M Commerce signed on with the Rams as an undrafted free agent.
Perez’s brief short-lived stint in the NFL four years ago would lead to a long and arduous journey.
As a genuine first-year starting pro quarterback. Luis Perez would begin his professional path in the Alliance of American Football with the Birmingham Iron. Perez would have his fair share of ups and down learning the pro game. But the Iron was headed to the playoffs before the AAF unfortunately folded.
Perez’s brief stint in the Alliance got him two roster opportunities in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions. But neither spot provided Perez a permanent home.
The next step in Perez’s career was signing on to join the XFL as an assigned quarterback of the Los Angeles Wildcats. But two months after signing on with LA, the team brought on current Denver Broncos quarterback Josh Johnson. The move would lead to Perez being traded to the New York Guardians before the season started.
Perez would start out in New York, backing up veteran Matt McGloin. But with the team at 1-2, Kevin Gilbride made the switch to Luis. The Guardians would win their next two games, beating Josh Johnson, and LA in the process. Perez showed outstanding leadership and helped vault NY into a first-place tie before the XFL season ended abruptly.
Unfortunately, the NFL did not come calling for Perez, despite five other XFL quarterbacks landing NFL roster spots. Perez was out of work and on the sidelines until he was reunited with his former XFL coach Kevin Gilbride in the Spring League in 2021. Perez would help lead the Jousters to a TSL championship game on FOX before the team fell short to the Hal Mumme-led Linemen.
Surprisingly, despite the growth exhibited in his turn in the XFL and TSL. Luis Perez was not drafted into the USFL. All eight USFL teams bypassed Perez in the standard and supplemental draft, and Perez was on the outside looking in.
However, the struggles of top Generals QB draft selection Ben Holmes led to Perez being signed by New Jersey right before the 2022 USFL season started.
Luis Perez was in a precarious position with the Generals as a part-time starter, sharing snaps with quarterback DeAndre Johnson. The latter would overtake Perez for the starting job early in the season. But an injury to Johnson opened the door for Perez to shine. During this process, Perez would earn the respect of his coaches and teammates, who praised Luis for his leadership traits.
Perez would help lead Mike Riley’s New Jersey Generals to the playoffs with a 9-1 record. The team would fall short against Philadelphia in the playoffs. But Perez had arguably the best statistical season of any passer in the USFL. He completed 71 percent of his passes for 1,200 yards, with nine touchdowns and only one interception during the regular season.
The USFL opened the door for Luis Perez to get another opportunity. Even though that door was initially closed. The patience, persistence, and perseverance of Luis Perez have earned him another shot in the NFL.
Ironically enough, the Superbowl Champion LA Rams have two former AAF quarterbacks backing up Matthew Stafford. Luis Perez joins former Arizona Hotshot standout John Wolford in the same quarterback room.
The Rams are a great landing spot for Luis Perez. A championship-caliber organization with a head coach and offensive system matching that high level of prestige. The odds have always been against Perez. But judging by his track record, I would never count him out.