We are in the middle of the XFL training camp as they ramp up for the season debut when the Vegas Vipers take on the Arlington Renegades on February 18.
Every team built their rosters through the two drafts and the assignment of NFL Alumni Academy players who were guaranteed a roster spot by graduating the Academy. Because of this, every team came into camp with more than the 50 players who will make the week one roster.
This meant cuts were inevitable and they have already started. The XFL announced on Saturday that all of their teams were forced to trim down to 70 players. The XFL stated that the 70-man rosters were on their website, unfortunately they still have not been updated. This lead to XFL Analyst on Instagram and Twitter to come to the rescue and post all of the cuts as he found them out.
This is a comprehensive list of all the cuts made in the past few days.
Arlington made 4 cuts with 2 assigned players. The ones that weren’t assigned were receiver Quintin Vinzant and defensive back Coby Tippett. Vinzant was the last pick for the Renegades in the supplemental draft and was a victim of a deep receiver room consisting of 10 guys. Tippett was a recent signed only lasting a week before getting cut. He was the son of Andre Tippett who played linebacker for the New England Patriots for over a decade.
The Defenders had to make 6 cuts to get down to 70 on Saturday. 4 of which were assigned as a part of the Alumni Academy partnership. Two draft picks were cut, firsy was defensive back CJ Anthony was the 10th round selection for DC in the DB portion of the first draft back in November. The final cut was punter Jake Schum who was the punter for Tampa Bay Vipers in 2020. He was drafted during the specialist portion of the original draft but was beat out in camp by the other punter they took, Daniel Whelan.
The Roughnecks had a busier day than most, mostly due to there additions to the roster like fan favorite from the 2020 season RB/WR Nick Holley. Houston cut 8 guys and 4 were in the Alumni Academy assignments. The most notable player in this group is Devin Hafford. Hafford had a busy 2022 as he was on the Pittsburgh Maulers in the USFL then after the season ended, sign with the Patriots but didn’t make their roster, only for him to be the 4 defensive back taken by the Roughnecks. It is a surprise to be sure but he probably doesn’t have to wait long at reportedly other XFL teams are interested in him and there is always the chance that he re-signs into the USFL.
Well, this is a great way to end the week. Nick Holley, a fan favorite from the #XFL in 2020, is returning to the league (per @XFLAnalyst).
Holley overcame 3 torn ACL's and a broken back in his career. Absolutely incredible. Now he's back in H-Town. pic.twitter.com/GZ7Z8B4QeY
The Guardians cut 6 players on Saturday, only two of which were Alumni assignments. The Guardians had a different strategy for building their team which involved going after arena player specifically from Fan-Controlled Football. We’ve already seen some of those experiments end with 3 of those player including TE/LS Tommy Auger, DL Justin Foster, and mostly notably QB Mitch Kidd. Kidd’s release was especially interesting as the Guardians only have 2 quarterbacks on roster currently. This will let fans imagination run wild with the player that could fill that role like Brett Hundley or Case Cookus for example.
The Battlehawks cut 5 guys to get down to 70. Of those 2 were a part of the Alumni assignment. Former Hard Knocks star Darius Bradwell was released, he was a 12th round pick in the supplemental draft. They would also release 2 of their original draft picks from November. Tison Gray who was the 6th offensive lineman taken and Tareke Lewis who was the 10th defensive back.
The Brahmas cut 7 guys with 5 of the being from the Alumni Academy. The only one that wasn’t was one of the bigger surprises of the weekend in quarterback Anthony Russo. Russo was one of the 2 quarterbacks assigned to San Antonio during the Quarterback Selection Show. He also had a part in QBX: Building an XFL Quarterback YouTube video that the league put out just days ago. There was some doubt to Russo making the roster after the Brahmas picked up Reid Sinnett and Jack Coan who both spent time in camps and on practice squads in the NFL this year but it’s still a surprise that he didn’t make the cut to 70.
The Sea Dragons cut 6 players of which 4 were Alumni graduates. Outside of them, defensive lineman O’Bryan Goodson was the only draft pick that was cut as he was an open phase 8th round pick at the end of the XFL Draft in November. The most interesting cut was Brian Lewerke. Lewerke was assigned in the second wave of assigned quarterback back in November. Most saw him as the clear QB3 behind Ben Dinucci and Steven Montez but with the recent addition of Harrison Frost, a QB coming straight out of college and is eligible for the 2023 NFL Draft, Lewerke quickly became the odd man out.
The Vipers had the least number of players cut but their cuts were very interesting. The elephant in the room is running back Matt Jones. Jones was a former 3rd round pick but most know him for his time with the St. Louis Battlehawks in 2020. He was a huge part of that offense with 80 carries for 314 yards and a touchdown in 5 games. They also cut receiver-tight end hybrid Isiah Macklin. Macklin was the 7th skill position play taken by the Vipers and the third receiver, they even posted a getting to know post on social media before camp but he be looking for a new home in 2023.
Cutdown days are never easy. Today at least a few of the guys listed above will never play organized football again. This was especially hard for those who reported after being assigned through the NFL Alumni Academy. There were 23 of those guys already cut and there are still 20 players on each team that won’t make it to week one. That means 160 more player will lose the opportunity to play in the XFL by next month.
Thankfully there are so many opportunities to keep playing with the USFL, CFL, ELF, FCF, IFL, and many more leagues playing which is why having these leagues are so important.
Do you plan on watching the XFL when it kicks off next month? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.