With the XFL 2020 season shutting down early, players were informed that they could sign with any NFL team starting on March 23rd. It didn’t take long for the first player to be signed.
Considered the MVP of the league, PJ Walker was the Houston Roughnecks quarterback. He put up an impressive stat line in five games of play: 1,338 yards, 15 touchdowns, and four interceptions. He had been scouted by the Seattle Seahawks earlier this month, so already he had NFL teams eyeing his success. While the transition from XFL to NFL may be a big question mark, it seemed obvious that Walker had a shot to be on an NFL roster.
Newly appointed head coach Matt Rhule has seen Walker before. In fact, he coached him when both were at Temple. This connection is crucial for Walker, as he will know Rhule’s system and expectations on offense. It gives him a leg up on the QB carousel in Carolina (more on that down below).
Walker had drawn interest from the Seahawks. He also had the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos scouting him. This shows that teams were invested in the XFL season. Walker is the first of hopefully many XFL guys who could be wearing an NFL jersey come this fall. Expect guys like Cam Phillips and Jordan Ta’amu to be next in line.
Pro tip: teams can’t sign quarterbacks if you sign them all.
At the time of the move, the Panthers had FIVE qb’s on their roster. However, shortly after the signing, Kyle Allen was shipped to the Redskins for a fifth-round pick. Below is what the quarterback room would have looked like if they had not made a move.
With Newton likely to be traded/cut, one would expect newly signed Bridgewater to take over. However, the Walker signing could bring some real competition in. As mentioned earlier, Walker will know Rhule’s schemes and offensive concepts better than the other quarterbacks. It’s also his job to lose: Bridgewater is signed long-term and Grier is on a rookie deal. Thus, He’ll look to beat out Will Grier as the back up and throw his name in the hat as a potential starter.
Assuming the team keeps three quarterbacks, I believe the depth chart will be as follows:
- QB1: Teddy Bridgewater
- QB2: PJ Walker
- QB3: Will Grier
It’s nice to see a guy like PJ Walker get another shot in the NFL. Hopefully he can prove his worth and be a serviceable QB in the near future!