XFL/CFL Merger Speculation: How Will The Leagues Handle Talent Management?

Latest Speculation on the Talks Between the CFL and XFL

Since the news broke in March that the CFL and XFL were talking about a possible partnership, the rumors have been running wild. A few months later, we know about as much as we did when the announcement was made. The XFL is on the sidelines for 2021, with the 2022 season on hold until discussions are complete. On the CFL side, the league is hoping to return August 5th, but Covid restrictions could alter their plans.

Many fans are getting angsty about the talks between the two leagues. Some are hoping for a full-on merger, and others want the talks to stop as soon as possible. Either way you look at it, both leagues are in a place where they could use some assistance.

In today’s 3DownNation Monday Mailbag, John Hodge answers a message from a CFL fan asking about the CFL-XFL talks, and wondered if it was less about a merger and more about creating a development league.

I wonder if we have these CFL-XFL talks all wrong. What if they’re talking less about a merger, and more about a developmental league-style agreement?

This is just me spitballing, but say the XFL is looking at its last two failures and the AAF and thinking, “Look, this is never going to work if we just sign NFL castoffs and college dropouts. We need actual talent throughout our rosters and a development pipeline if we’re going to pull this off.”

So into the picture comes the CFL, who already have the market largely cornered on Canadian talent, lots of players just a cut below NFL quality, and have spent the last few years developing relationships with other leagues worldwide. Thoughts?

-Brian Pike

Thanks for the question, Brian.

I’m sure the XFL would love to poach some of the CFL’s top talent — especially at the quarterback position — but they could do so without a merger. All they’d have to do is offer a handful of exorbitant contracts.

The CFL and XFL are talking about a full-blown merger. For better or worse, you can take that to the bank.

The problem with spring football in the United States has never been a lack of talent — it’s getting American fans to care about brand new franchises when most have lifelong allegiances to teams in the NFL and NCAA.

Many have started to worry about the lack of news coming from either of the leagues. If you ask me, this is to be expected. When it comes to any partnership, let alone a possible merger, things need to be as tight-lipped as possible. Any news leak could be the demise of the discussions. As is such, in these scenarios, everyone is obligated to a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

If the CFL is unable to play this season, they will be in a far worse financial situation than they already are. The dark horse that we never hear about in any of this is RedBird Capital. Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson are key figure-heads, but RedBird is looking to build upon their success so far and would not invest in the XFL had they not had a plan in place to make money.

As the world slowly starts to return to normal, we may see a new football league rise from the ashes. Some think that whatever comes out of these discussions will be a new league, with a unified rule book and a new name. Once we know more, we’ll keep you posted.

What do you think the outcome of the CFL/XFL discussions will be? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.

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