Dallas Renegades Donald Parham

XFL Free Agents: Six potential signings for the Cleveland Browns

  • 2020 NFL Free Agency
  • Cleveland Browns
  • NFL
  • XFL
By Jereme Jones March 13, 2020 0 Comment
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The inaugural season of the XFL is over, due to the coronavirus. While the situation is a disaster for the XFL, it offers an early opportunity for the NFL.

Originally, XFL players were not going to be allowed to sign with NFL teams until after the XFL Championship Game on April 26. However, due to the cancellation of the season on Thursday, the situation has changed. All XFL players are now free to sign with NFL teams as soon as Friday, March 13. With NFL free agency not scheduled to begin until March 18, this new talent pool will allow organizations to fill roster needs early and at a discount. The Cleveland Browns are a team that should take advantage of this opportunity. The Browns have several holes to fill on their roster, and there are a lot of talented players in the XFL. It’s a chance for Cleveland to strengthen the middle and bottom of their roster without spending a lot of money. Here are six XFL players who would be a good fit with the Browns.

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#1 Donald Parham (TE) – Dallas Renegades

Donald Parham is the best tight end in the XFL and might be the best NFL prospect in the league as well. Parham is a big target, 6’8″ 237 lbs, who has shown good hands and surprising speed this season. In five games, he caught 24 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns. Parham has also proven to be a great red zone option with his size.

Parham played his college ball at Stetson and went undrafted in 2019. He then signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent and was cut at the end of training camp. He did spend a few weeks on Washington’s practice squad last year before being released.

Parham, with his unique skill set, will be highly coveted by many NFL teams. With the uncertainty the Browns currently have at the tight end position, there are only two now on the roster, Parham should be the first XFL call the front office makes. He will be a successful NFL tight end.

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#2 P.J. Walker (QB) – Houston Roughnecks

P.J. Walker is the face of the XFL and the front-runner for the league’s MVP award. In five games, Walker was 119 of 184 for 1,338 yards, with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has been called the Patrick Mahomes of the XFL because of the way he plays the position. Walker is a mobile quarterback who can escape pressure, throw on the run, and is very good at throwing off-platform. He has also shown great leadership in his five games in Houston.

Walker is 5’11 215 lbs and 25 years old. He played his college football at Temple, where he still holds several school records. Walker signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the Colts practice squad.

Walker is an excellent fit for the Browns for two reasons. One, Cleveland currently only has two quarterbacks on the roster; Baker Mayfield and Garrett Gilbert. Walker would automatically become the number two quarterback on the roster and could save the Browns from needing to sign a veteran backup in free agency. Second, Walker has a skill set similar to Mayfield and would fit well into the Browns’ offense.

Walker is likely to be a player who many NFL teams are interested in. The Browns would be smart to be aggressive in trying to bring him to Cleveland.

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#3 Cam Phillips (WR) – Houston Roughnecks

If it wasn’t for P.J. Walker, his teammate Cam Phillips would be the favorite for XFL MVP. Phillips, a 6’0″ 200 lbs wide receiver, caught 31 passes for 455 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He led the XFL in all three categories. Phillips has excellent hands and quickness and has shown the ability to run after the catch.

Phillips went undrafted in 2018 out of Virginia Tech despite setting several school records for the Hokies. The main reason he was passed over was a sports hernia injury that led to him running a slow 40 time at his pro day. Phillips ended up signing as an undrafted free agent with Buffalo in 2018 and spent the 2018 season on the Bills’ practice squad.

Phillips is a smaller receiver but has shown this season in the XFL that he can be productive. The Browns starters are Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, so they don’t need to come in and be a star. However, Cleveland has very little depth behind those two, and Phillips could excel as a third or fourth receiver in this Browns’ offense.

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#4 Bunmi Rotimi Jr. (DE) – New York Guardians

Bunmi Rotimi is a defensive end whose best attribute is his ability to get after the quarterback. In 5 games, Rotimi led the XFL in quarterback hurries with 12 and also recorded one sack and 26 tackles. Rotimi went undrafted out of Old Dominion in 2018 before going to training camp with the Bears, where they tried to play him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. After getting cut, he spent time in 2019 with the Arizona Hot Shots of the AAF.

Rotimi is 6’4″ 275 lbs and could, at a minimum, be an outstanding sub-package pass rusher. However, at only 24, Rotimi can grow into much more than a role player. With the lack of depth at defensive end in Cleveland, especially guys who can edge rush, Rotimi would be an excellent fit for the Browns and a guy who could contribute this season.

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#5 Dexter McCoil (LB) – St. Louis BattleHawks

Dexter McCoil is older than the other guys on this list, at 28, but he has made his mark in the XFL this season. McCoil, a 6’4″ 220 lbs linebacker, is fourth in the league in tackles with 39. He is a versatile player who has also played safety. Because of his defensive back experience, McCoil is a good coverage linebacker and has also shown himself to be a solid tackler. McCoil can also contribute on special teams.

McCoil, a 2013 Tulsa graduate, has been a football nomad. He has played in the Arena League, the CFL, the NFL, and the XFL. McCoil played in 16 games, starting two at safety for the Chargers in 2016. He was waived in 2017 and then signed by the 49ers, where he spent parts of two seasons.

McCoil is not an NFL starter, but he would be an excellent role player who would add position versatility and special teams ability to the Browns’ roster. With the lack of depth at linebacker right now, McCoil would be a favorite to start the season in Cleveland if he is signed.

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#6 Josh Hawkins (CB) – Dallas Renegades

Josh Hawkins is another older guy, 27, who brings NFL experience. Hawkins, out of East Carolina, signed as an undrafted free agent with Green Bay in 2016. He made the team out of camp and spent two seasons with the Packers, playing in 26 games and starting 3. Hawkins spent time with the Panthers, Chiefs, and Eagles in 2018.

In the XFL, Hawkins was one of the best cornerbacks in the league. In 305 snaps for Dallas, he was targeted 23 times and only allowed ten catches. Hawkins also had three pass breakups and two interceptions. With the lack of depth behind starters Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, Cleveland could find an immediate use for Hawkins. He is a guy who could be a slot corner or fourth corner for the Browns this season.

Other Potential Signings

While these six players are my best fits for the Browns, many other XFL players should get an opportunity with NFL teams in 2020. Here is a shortlist of other potential signings from the XFL.

QB: Jordan Ta’amu (STL)

RB: Cameron Artis-Payne (Dal), Jacques Patrick (TB)

WR: Tre McBride (LA), Nick Holley (Hou), Nelson Spruce (LA), Demornay Pierson-El (STL), Jalen Tolliver (TB)

TE: Nick Truesdell (TB)

OL: Storm Norton (LA), Avery Genessy (Hou), Marquise Shakur (Dal), Jordan McCray (TB)

DL: Cedric Reed (LA), Cavon Walker (NY), Will Sutton (Sea), Gabe Wright (Hou)

LB: Steven Johnson (Sea), Terence Garvin (STL), Beniquez Brown (Hou), DeMarquis Gates (Hou)

CB: Jamar Summers (NY), Tarvarus McFadden (TB), Robert Priester (TB)

S: Ahmad Dixon (LA), Will Hill (STL), Derron Smith (Dal), Kenny Robinson (STL)

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