January 5th came and went with possibly more questions than answers as leaks have begun trickling out to twitter from various sources. While players, fans, and media stay glued to their phones in hopes of extending their career in the newly formed UFL, some players have already begun to take their talents up North.

Ever since the beginning of the initial announcement in late September, XFL and USFL players were on notice with several teams inevitably getting put on “hiatus” expanding the “pool” of free agent players. Now that the league has officially announced their teams moving forward several players have begun finding employment in other leagues in hopes of extending their career.

While beginning my initial digging on this subject one of the first players I came across was the Battlehawks Rookie Draft Pick Jacob Brammer who was selected by St. Louis after the XFL Combine. Brammer spent 2017 to 2022 at North Texas and Vanderbilt, earning 47 starts over his college career. On December 22nd, Brammer signed a contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in hopes of finding more stability in the CFL.

Earlier in the year we saw Darnell Sankey, Brett Boyko, and Colin Kelly all depart their XFL Franchises and make their way to the CFL. While Sankey was with the Arlington Renegades a “safe” franchise Boyko and Kelly both spent the spring of 2023 with the Guardians and Sea Dragons respectively two franchises put on hiatus.

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Recently during the Friday Dispersal Draft Three more XFL players have opted to go up North. Mike Weber (LOI with Orlando), Stanley Berryhill (LOI with Houston), and CJ Avery a Vegas Vipers Linebacker have all signed contracts with CFL teams rather than “press their luck” with the dispersal draft. All Three players were also a part of franchises from the XFL that are once again on “hiatus”.

While many of these decisions could be a surprise to fans, one transaction that should be hitting the waiver wire quite soon is the status of former New Orleans Breakers Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson. The Two-time Grey Cup champion has reportedly signed a contract with the Edmonton Elks to compete with Tre Ford for the starting QB job. MBT now joins his 11th team since turning pro in 2011. Ironically MBT replaces a former XFL player Taylor Cornelius who played in the leagues 202 iteration with the Tampa Bay Vipers.

While it is inevitable it’s only natural more XFL and USFL players will find their way up to the CFL. While as separate entities the XFL and USFL have seen almost 175 players earn NFL contracts since 2022, only about 20% have been able to stick on Active Rosters and Practice Squads. With the UFL cutting 8 teams and about 400 players losing their spots on spring league rosters, Canadian GM’s and Scouts will have no problem allowing American players an opportunity in the Great White North.

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Patrick Rifino

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