In a development that is interesting insofar as it may represent the future of pro football leagues competing over player contracts (provided the XFL can actually get off the ground this time), Vince McMahon's resurrected league has reportedly blocked the Detroit Lions from reuniting with quarterback Josh Johnson, who they cut this past September.
At this point on the calendar, the XFL has already compiled rosters for their eight-team league, put together a schedule for their second-attempt at an inaugural season, and also setup dates and locations for their training camps. That is to say that everything, at least logistically, appears to be good to go.
However, according to reports, the Lions could have tossed a small wrench into that after reaching out quarterback Josh Johnson, following their loss to a pitiful Redskins team this past Sunday. In recent weeks Detroit, who has now lost four in a row, has been having their offense led by backup quarterback Jeff Driskel, as reliable starter Matthew Stafford has dealt with back injuries that could keep him out for the rest of the year.
Unfortunately for the Lions' front office, Johnson is currently on the roster for the Los Angeles Wildcats (whom you've probably never heard of because they're an XFL team). And, as the headline states, the XFL is blocking Detroit's attempt to acquire Johnson.
Here it is from a guy who breaks NFL news all day:
XFL players who sign contracts are locked into that league until the end of their season, which will wrap up with their championship on the day after the NFL Draft, which happens in April.
Average XFL salaries will be $55,000, which is about $440,000 less than the NFL minimum. Johnson inked a deal with the XFL on Friday after being part of that league's supplemental draft. However, he was designated an XFL Tier 1 player, which will reportedly earn him far more than that average number. In fact, his salary is said to be around the $500,000 range.
Additionally, NFL contracts can be disregarded at a moment's notice, and nobody knows that better than Johnson. His 12-year pro career involves stints for...holy shit, the: Bucs, 49ers, "Sacramento Mountain Lions" (of UFL fame), Browns, Bengals, 49ers (again), Bengals (again), Jets, Colts, Bills, Ravens, Giants, Texans, Raiders, Redskins, Lions, and now Wildcats. If that's not enough lines on the resume he was also the top overall choice for the doomed Alliance of American Football league, though he (wisely) chose not to play in that.