Panthers Beat out Seahawks in Signing Star XFL Quarterback

PJ Walker Salary

Getty P.J. Walker was one of the breakout stars of the XFL.

The Carolina Panthers won the P.J. Walker sweepstakes over a number of interested NFL teams including the Seattle Seahawks. Walker is signing with the Panthers where he will be reunited with his college coach Matt Rhule. The Panthers have now signed two quarterbacks this offseason with Walker along with Teddy Bridgewater, making it clear the team is moving on from Cam Newton.

“XFL news: Former Houston Roughnecks QB PJ Walker is expected to sign with the #Panthers, source said. One of the stars of the XFL lands an NFL job,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted.

The Seahawks were among three additional teams that contacted the Houston Roughnecks about Walker’s availability, Fox 26’s Mark Berman.

“NFL source: The @Seahawks, @AZCardinals and @Broncos have contacted the Houston Roughnecks (@XFLRoughnecks) inquiring about quarterback PJ Walker (@pjwalker_5),” Berman reported on Twitter.

Walker and other XFL players were free to sign with an NFL team beginning on Monday, March 23, per ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. Walker was scooped up shortly after the 9 a.m. Eastern window that players were permitted to sign with a new team.

This is more than a month sooner than originally expected as players were previously permitted to sign with NFL teams after the XFL season on April 27. As a response to COVID-19, the XFL officially announced the cancelation of the remainder of the 2020 season which put Walker and others on the market more than a month sooner than expected.

The Seahawks Were Among the NFL Teams That Scouted Walker During the XFL Season

This is not the first time the Seahawks had been linked to Walker. The Seahawks scouted Walker back in March when the XFL season was still going as The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta detailed.

“ABC announcer Steve Levy mentioned during the opening of Saturday’s telecast 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 5-0 start,” Condotta explained.

Coming out of Temple, Walker went undrafted in 2017 but was later signed by the Colts. Prior to playing in the XFL, Walker bounced on and off the Colts’ practice squad. Former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck pushed for his father Oliver Luck (who is the XFL commissioner) to find a spot for the quarterback in the new league.

“Andrew had been pushing him to me,” Luck told the Houston Chronicle, via USA Today. “He said, ‘Dad, I’m telling you, this guy can play. He’s a good kid and a hard worker, and he’s hungry to play.’”

Walker was one of the most sought-after XFL players among NFL teams. The Seahawks found it hard to compete with the familiarity the quarterback had with his former Temple coach.

Wilson Is Still the Only Quarterback on the Seahawks’ Current Roster

Last season, Geno Smith won the backup quarterback position for the Seahawks. Smith beat out Paxton Lynch for the job in the preseason, but the veteran quarterback is now a free agent. Fortunately for the Seahawks, Wilson has had almost a flawless injury history and the backup quarterback has been merely insurance throughout his career. It is still necessary for the Seahawks to equip themselves to be prepared if Wilson sustained an unfortunate injury.

Prior to the abrupt end of the XFL season, Walker threw for 1,338 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions with the Roughnecks. Walker is also a threat to hurt opposing defenses with his legs making him a great fit in a league that is increasingly prioritizing mobility in quarterbacks.

The Seahawks search for a backup XFL quarterback continues as Walker heads to Carolina.