P.J. Walker wasn’t the biggest name entering this second edition of the XFL, but the former Temple quarterback has made the most of his opportunity, and then some.
Walker, the quarterback of the Houston Roughnecks, had a taste of the NFL after his college career. In 2017 and 2018, he spent time with the Indianapolis Colts practice squad. During that time, he reportedly became a favorite of former Colts star QB Andrew Luck. Now, he plays in a league led by Luck’s father Oliver.
The Roughnecks are two minutes away from going 5-0 on the season. Walker’s MVP-level play has been a huge reason why. Entering today, he is 92-147 for 987 yards and 12 touchdowns, with two interceptions through the air. The Roughnecks trailed the Seattle Dragons in the fourth quarter, but a pair of P.J. Walker-to-Cam Phillips touchdown passes, and some clutch defense, has the team on top 32-23.
The Seattle Dragons aren’t the only team from the Emerald City paying attention to Walker’s play today. According to XFL announcer Steve Levy, the Seattle Seahawks are looking into signing him as a free agent. The team is currently without a backup to Russell Wilson, a spot that has been a rotating door for a few years. Walker could give the team a high-ceiling option.
Steve Levy just said the Seahawks have personnel at the Dragons-Roughnecks game to scout Houston QB P.J. Walker. They just were comparing him to Russell Wilson.
— Brandon Gustafson (@TheBGustafson) March 7, 2020
Geno Smith served as the backup for Wilson last season. He is now a free agent. Walker will be free to sign with an NFL team in April, once the XFL season finishes up. From The Seattle Times:
ABC announcer Steve Levy mentioned during the opening of its telecast of Saturday’s Houston-Seattle game noting that the Seahawks had scouts in attendance to check out Walker, who has become the early sensation of the fledgling league in leading the Roughnecks to a 4-0 start.
The Seahawks do not have any quarterback under contract for the 2020 season other than Wilson. Last year’s backup, Geno Smith, is now an unrestricted free agent. Seattle went with just two QBs last season after Smith beat out Paxton Lynch for the backup job in the preseason.
Obviously the XFL would love to hold on to some star players. It may be in the league’s best interest, however, if it proves it can be a legitimate launching pad for players to the NFL.
If the league can sustain itself into a second season, and Walker can fill the role Tommy Maddox had after the first iteration of the league years ago, it could be a pretty big win for Vince McMahon, Oliver Luck, and company.