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USFL to NFL: By the Numbers A Season in Review, USFL Players In The NFL

As the NFL season comes to an end, it’s time to review how many of the USFL players faired throughout the year. The USFL saw 57 of their players garner NFL contracts in 2022, out of those 57, 28 of them found themselves on an NFL payroll at one point in the NFL season which yields a 49% success rate. The figure that shows an extremely success rate is the 8 million dollars USFL players totaled that is now added to their bank accounts.

With the financial success, also came the on the field success for USFL players. The USFL saw 11 of their players take regular season snaps in the 2022 season. With KaVontae Turpin leading the charge earning a Pro-Bowl selection, other players like Domenique Davis, Maurice Alexander, and Tae Hayes all saw significant playing time for the Bengals, Lions and Patriots respectively. The USFL even saw multiple specialist play roles throughout the NFL regular season.

With Taylor Bertolet going perfect on kicks before injury, Mitch Fraboni being Top-5 in tackles for Long Snappers at the time of his injury despite playing in less games. Tucker Addington put together three games of clean snapping for the Patriots filling in for long time player Joe Cardona, while even Ramiz Ahmed seemed primed to handle kickoff duties before his injury in week 17 and recorded a tackle during his lone appearance.

USFL PlayersPositionUSFL TeamNFL TeamResultNFL Career Earnings
Domenique DavisDLGamblersBengalsPS Bengels AR 5Nov PS 9Nov$274,484
KaVontae TurpinWRGeneralsCowboysActive Roster$705,000
Maurice AlexanderWRStarsLionsCut 31 Aug PS 4Sept AR 8Oct Cut 10Oct PS12Oct$575,670
Tae HaynesCBStallionsPanthers/PatriotsPS Panthers Active Released Signed to NE AR$1,124,844
DeMarquis GatesLBStallionsBearsPS Bears AR 4Jan$313,001
TJ CarterDLPanthersSaintsCut 15Aug Claimed by Rams/ PS by Rams$417,169
Micah AbernathySGamblersPackers/FalconsCut 31 Aug (made roster) Now on PS/AR ATL 31Dec$375,668
Ramiz AhmedKMaulersPackersPS Packers$285,334
Taylor BertoletKBreakersPanthers/ChargersSigned to PS 8Sept/Cut 13Sept/Signed 6Oct LAC$339,766
Tucker AddingtonLSGamblersCowboysSigned to PS 5Oct cut 11Oct Signed to Gamblers 9Nov NE 16Dec AR24Dec$728,000
Mitchell FraboniLSMaulersBroncosPS11Oct$423,277
USFL Players to play in an NFL game in 2022

The USFL also saw the NFL season with 6 of their players ending the season on an NFL 53-man roster. Micah Abernathy, DeMarquis Gates, KaVontae Turpin, Tae Hayes, Tucker Addington and former Stars Offensive Lineman Alex Akingbulu all ended the season on an active roster and could be primed to contribute even more next year. Defensive Lineman Domenique Davis, LS Mitch Fraboni and WR/KR Maurice Alexander both had also been signed to the active roster at some point in the season as well.

Domenique Davis 72 appeared in two NFL games and recorded 3 tackles in the 2022 NFL season

With the 57 original USFL players to sign NFL contracts so far only five have returned back to the league. All-USFL CB Channing Stribling leads the pack, while WR Devin Gray, RB Matt Colburn, RB Dexter Williams, and RB Stevie Scott all are returning to their respective USFL teams, with Channing Stribling and Dexter Williams making waves by choosing the USFL over the XFL after being drafted in the XFL’s 2022 November draft. Out the 33 “free agents” (USFL to NFL signees who were not retained by NFL teams) the USFL has retained 5 (15%) of them so far in the early stages of the NFL off-season.

USFL PlayersPositionUSFL TeamNFL TeamResultNFL Career Earnings
Stevie ScottRBPanthersBroncosCut 22 Aug USFL 23Dec$7,500
Devin GrayWRStarsChiefsReleased 16 Aug Signed with USFL Stars 5Oct$326,906
Matt ColburnRBStarsJagsReleased 15 Aug Signed to Stars 9Nov$0
Dexter WilliamsRBStarsPackersCut 30 August 16Nov XFL Stars 24Nov$1,059,855
Channing StriblingCBStarsCommandersReleased XFL 16Nov 5Jan USFL$108,800
USFL players who have returned to the league after NFL opportunities

While the USFL has retained some of the talent it lost to the NFL, it did lose 18(54% of 33 available players) of their former players to the XFL in November during their draft. Overall, the USFL has seen 61 of their former players (8 did not finish the season with a USFL team) since the XFL has begun selecting players. However, the USFL has not let all the “talent” go directly to the XFL, as the USFL has managed to sign 6 players who were drafted by XFL teams.

USFL PlayersPositionNFL TeamXFL DraftedUSFL Team
Dexter WilliamsRBPackersRenegadesStars
Channing StriblingCBCommandersBattlehawksStars
Reggie CorbinRBN/ABrahmasPanthers
Non-1st Year USFL Players
Rico GaffordWR/CBN/ABrahmasStallions
Jessie LemonierDEN/ARenegadesStallions
TJ GreenSN/ARenegadesStallions
Jordan WilliamsDLN/ADefendersShowboats

So, Whose Left Over?

As stated, there were 33 free agents that were USFL players who were not signed by NFL teams or ended the season with NFL team. After both XFL drafts and the return of the 5 returning USFL players there were only about 10 players left to be up for “grabs”, as Tomasi Laulile and Tegray Scales both of whom left for the NFL were both selected during the XFL supplemental draft. Scales was one of the 28 players to spend time with an NFL team during the regular season as he spent a couple months with the Bengals in 2022.

USFL PlayersPositionUSFL TeamNFL TeamResult
Brian AllenCBStallionsSaintsCut 30 August
BJ EmmonsRBBanditsRaidersReleased 15 August/Signed with CFL SSK cut Oc26
KJ CostelloQBStarsSaintsCut 21Aug
Sage SurrattTEStarsChargersCut 30 August
Derek DillonWRBanditsBrownsReleased 15 Aug
Bug HowardTEStarsBucsWaived 22Aug
Bailey GaitherWRMaulersRavensCut 22 Aug/Waived by Giants 26Aug/PS for Ravens/cu10Oct
Ishmael HymanWRPanthersPackersCut 30 Aug
Osirus MitchellWRStallionsPackersReleased 10Aug
Christain SamLBBreakersCowboysCut 22 Aug
USFL Players who have not been selected/signed by NFL USFL or XFL teams

Currently 10 players (17%) of the 57 originally players remain still on the market. With names like Sage Surratt, Derek Dillon, Bug Howard, Bailey Gaither and Ish Hyman still unsigned it’s quite possible the USFL can retain even more of their year one talent. With XFL training camp on it’s way and injuries more than likely to be filled by the alumni academy players, it appears that the remaining USFL free agents could find themselves back with their original USFL teams.

Closing Thoughts:

As the NFL season comes to a close, and the USFL begins to ramp up operations in March the success of seeing 28 players spend time on NFL payrolls is definitely a huge accomplishment for the league looking to recruit viable NFL talent. As the USFL season ramps up for 2023 even with the competition of the XFL the USFL will have no problem being utilized as a platform for players to showcase their talents for the NFL and create their own brands.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ken Granito

    January 16, 2023 at 11:39 pm

    Great job of breaking this down. The next couple of weeks should be very interesting with regards to these signings.

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