The XFL’s relaunch will officially commence in February 2020, shortly after the Super Bowl ends and the NFL crowns a new champion. The spring league will consist of eight teams across the United States, a 10-week schedule, and a four team playoff format. However, there is one aspect of the XFL that a hot discussion topic. The XFL will implement a centralized practice squad/farm system that is internally referred to as “Team 9.”
Team 9 will have 35-40 available roster spots covering every position on the field. According to league commissioner Oliver Luck, the team’s sole purpose is to keep players healthy and in shape in case a team suffers an unfortunate injury. It is meant to prevent a team from signing a player that may not have the experience or just may not be developed enough to play. Luck spoke to Pro Football Talk about this concept:
“What we want to try to avoid is our teams having to sign players off the street,” Luck said. “Example, Dez Bryant signed with the Saints this past NFL season, the first ten minutes of . . . that particular practice he tears an Achilles [tendon]. And so we want to avoid that. That’s quite honestly a costly Workers’ Compensation claim, so we want to have a group of guys that will be based in Dallas who basically are staying in shape.”
Luck also mentioned how important conditioning will be in the XFL. The XFL is using a 25-second play clock, which means the tempo will be a bit faster in this league as opposed to the NFL, CFL, college football, etc. Team 9 will have its own coaching staff and will be based in Dallas. Team 9 will practice at the Dallas Renegades practice facility, but will not participate in actual games.
We don’t know how Team 9 contracts will look yet. I laid out the league’s salary structure in my last piece, which you can check out here. The salary structure of the league does not take Team 9 into account. Will each of the eight teams be able to assign players to Team 9? Will teams be able to sign players to a minor league-type deal that automatically assigns them to Team 9? Only time, and Oliver Luck, can answer these questions.
Photo Credit: XFL