QB P.J. Walker to sign with Carolina Panthers as first XFL player to land in NFL

View Comments

The first XFL player to reach the NFL is the start-up league's biggest name and top performer.

Former Houston Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker is signing with the Carolina Panthers.

"I'm excited," Walker told KRIV-TV's Mark Berman. "It's a great opportunity. It's a chance to go there and compete."

Roughnecks coach June Jones told Berman the deal is for two years.

The XFL began allowing its players to sign with the NFL on Monday after announcing it had canceled the remainder of its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Walker, 25, was perhaps the biggest star of the league's shortened debut season. In leading Houston to a 5-0 record, he threw for 1,338 yards and 15 touchdowns, both XFL highs. 

In Carolina, he reunites with head coach Matt Rhule, who was his head coach at Temple from 2013-16.

XFL:P.J. Walker, Cam Phillips among 10 players NFL teams should target in free agency

After Carolina later on Monday agreed to trade Kyle Allen to the Washington Redskins, Walker will have the opportunity to compete with Will Grier for the role of backup to Teddy Bridgewater, who signed with the team last week. The Panthers said last week they had granted longtime starter Cam Newton the opportunity to pursue a trade, though the team might release him if a deal doesn't materialize.

The move marks Walker's return to the NFL after he was a practice-squad player for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017-18.

Defensive back Deatrick Nichols, Walker's former Roughnecks teammate, became the second XFL player to reach a deal with an NFL team Monday, as his agent confirmed he was signing with the New Orleans Saints. Later in the day, former St. Louis BattleHawks quarterback Jordan Ta'amu agreed to terms with the Kansas City Chiefs, his agent confirmed.

Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.

If you love talking football, we have the perfect spot for you. Join our Facebook Group, The Ruling Off the Field, to engage in friendly debate and conversation with fellow football fans and our NFL insiders. Do the right thing, sign up now!

View Comments