XFL draftee Corey Vereen rejects contract over low pay

A player selected in the XFL’s inaugural draft earlier this month has decided not to play in the upstart league because its standard salary is too low, according to his agent.

Corey Vereen, a former University of Tennessee standout defensive end, was one of 538 players chosen from a pool of 1,000 entrants in the XFL’s two-day draft last week. However, Vereen informed the Los Angeles Wildcats, the franchise that drafted him, that he would not sign a contract.

“Corey has chosen to forgo his XFL opportunity and continue working in his career field,” Logan Brown Sports, the firm representing Vereen, said in a statement. “We wish the upstart league the best and would be open to the idea of playing when salaries reach an appropriate minimum.”

While the XFL has yet to publicly confirm expected base salaries for its players, the league informed agents earlier this month that the average player would earn $55,000 from Dec. 4 through May 31, 2020, assuming they remained on their team’s active roster. In its statement, Logan Brown Sports said the Wildcats offered a base salary of $27,040, with per-game active roster bonuses of $1,685 and win bonuses of $2,222.

“We provided an opportunity to play pro football in front of a national audience and only wish him well,” an XFL spokesperson said in a statement.

Based on that format, if players earned every weekly active roster bonus and played on an XFL team that went 5-5 during the season, they would earn $55,000.

XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck indicated earlier this year that some players could receive larger contracts to play in the league. Quarterbacks are expected to earn nearly $500,000, according to ESPN.

"We think we can be a little bit more selective and pay at the upper level some significant six-figure sums and then have a number of different levels,” Luck said.

The XFL will pay far less than the NFL, which offers a minimum base salary of $495,000 during its 2019 season. The Alliance of American Football, which folded earlier this year after just one season, signed all of its players to three-year, $250,000 contracts, but struggled to make payroll.