With the XFL’s season likely over, the New York Jets could fill several of their needs by inviting some of the talent to their roster.
They held out as long as they could, but the XFL joined the countless amount of professional leagues that opted to shut down in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Thus likely ends the league’s inaugural season, one that recently reached the halfway mark of its ten-game slate.
In the wake of the league’s suspension, the players will receive their base salary earned from single-year contracts that expire on May 31. However, if players receive a “credible contractual offer” from an NFL or CFL squad, they’ll be allowed to partake.
NFL free agency is surprisingly set to start on time, with the New York Jets set to spend just over $44 million in cap space to fill their many needs. Some of those needs can be filled via scouring the talent in the XFL. ESM gives you five names to keep an eye on as the process begins…
T Anthony Coyle, New York
If the Jets are looking for upgrades on the offensive line, they could look no further than their own backyard. Coyle, a Fordham alum and Staten Island native, was named to the XFL’s all-midseason squad at the time of cessation of operations. He and the Guardians’ blocking unit was starting to hit their stride in the latter stages of the shortened year. Coyle would help pave the way for New York rushers to tally 266 yards over the past two weeks.
FB Winston Dimel, Los Angeles
This one might be a bit out of the box, as injuries limited Dimel to only the final two weeks of the abbreviated XFL season. But, as one of the few true fullback types left in any brand of professional football, the versatile Dimel could become a hidden weapon on the Jets offense. The position is an endangered species in the NFL, but it may or may not be a coincidence that the most recent Super Bowl nominees each utilized a fullback in their offense (Kyle Juszczyk and Anthony Sherman). Dimel worked well in such a role in college at Kansas State and UTEP. In his sophomore season in Manhattan, Dimel had just 92 yards rushing on the year…but visited the end zone a dozen times. Additionally, Le’Veon Bell could use all the blocking help he can get. Why not provide him such an option right out of the backfield?
WR/KR Keith Mumphrey, St. Louis
A special teams area where the Jets need drastic improvement is in their return game. The departure of Pro Bowler Andre Roberts saw them rely on a combination of Ty Montgomery and Braxton Berrios, neither of whom truly filled the void of the newly minted Buffalo Bill. With Roberts gone, the Jets went from third in the league’s kick return average to a three-way tie for 20th. Mumphrey, who finished third in the XFL in return average, can also serve as a receiver, catching six passes for 102 yards. He also brings the rare benefit of NFL experience, having played two years as a fifth-round pick of the Texans.
CB Deatrick Nichols, Houston
With the Jets in desperate need of depth in the secondary (a need that increases if they lose Brian Poole to free agency), this addition from the undefeated Roughnecks would be the type of acquisition that can do it all. Nichols led the league in interceptions (3), complimenting 25 tackles including one sack. The Jets proved last year that they can certainly raise the pressure from the secondary, and Nichols can certainly fit the bill. He had 15 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles during his time at South Florida.
K Taylor Russolino, St. Louis
The Jets brought in former Dallas Cowboy Brett Maher as their kicker, the fifth man they’ve brought in to boot since Pro Bowler Jason Myers left for Seattle. When you’re a team with an offense that’s still struggling to score touchdowns on a consistent basis, having a reliable kicker is imperative, and the Jets haven’t found that. Russolino was one of the fan favorites with the resurgent St. Louis football franchise. He was not only accurate (9-of-10 FG) but able to hit from distance as well (4-for-4 from at least 40 yards out).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags