10 UFL standouts Buccaneers should sign and bring to training camp

It's safe to say there is no shortage of NFL-ready talent available in free agency from the UFL's inaugural season in 2024.
Birmingham Stallions v Houston Roughnecks
Birmingham Stallions v Houston Roughnecks / Kevin M. Cox/UFL/GettyImages
1 of 5

In recent times, the absence of the NFL from March until August has caused the creation of several spring football leagues. Over the past decade, leagues such as the Arena Football League (AFL), the American Arena League (AAL), the XFL, and the United Indoor Football Association (UIFA) have been created to help fill the five-month void without football.

That said, none of those leagues have seen the success of the United Football League, which just finished its inaugural season in 2024. The UFL was formed from the merger of the XFL and the United States Football League (USFL) and is made up of four teams from each of the two former leagues.

Just like in previous years with the XFL and the USFL, the UFL has produced plenty of talented and skilled players. As of this offseason, eight former UFL players have signed with NFL teams, and there are still several players who may be the next to make the jump after stellar seasons this summer.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t have a ton of room on th 53-man roster, but the team would be wise to take a look at a handful of potential candidates to see what happens.

Adrian Martinez, QB, Birmingham Stallions

Dating back to the inaugural season of the USFL in 2022, the Stallions quickly rose to the top of the league, winning back-to-back championships in 2022 and 2023. With the agreed merger of the USFL and the XFL for the UFL, Birmingham was expected to compete for their third straight football championship.

Under the coaching of Skip Holtz, Birmingham finished with a 9-1 record in their debut season with the UFL, and later beat the Michigan Panthers 31-28 in the USFL Conference Championship game to advance to the first-ever UFL championship. Against San Antonio, Holtz and Birmingham won the 2024 UFL Championship, taking down the Brahmas 25-0.

In the championship game, starting quarterback Adrian Martinez was exceptional for the Stallions, completing 13-23 passes for 98 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for 52 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Martinez would later be named the game MVP to close out an exceptional season by the quarterback.

In his second season as Birmingham's QB1, Martinez enjoyed a career year, throwing for 1,748 passing yards (third in UFL), 15 passing touchdowns (second in UFL), and just three interceptions on 58.5% completion. Additionally, Martinez notched a league-leading 528 rushing yards, three touchdowns, and 9.7 yards per attempt on 54 rushes.

Under Holtz's air-raid offense, Martinez threw for an average of 174.9 yards per game, and was the only UFL quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards twice during the UFL regular season. On April 13, Martinez threw for 334 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in a 33-14 blowout win against Memphis.

Three games later, Martinez diced up the Showboats' defense once again, totaling a UFL-record 369 passing yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions in the Stallions' 39-21 win on May 4. To no surprise, Martinez was later unanimously named as the UFL league MVP and has caught plenty of notice from NFL head coaches, scouts, and players.

Before joining the USFL and UFL, Martinez played at Nebraska from 2018-2021, before transferring to Kansas State in 2022. Martinez would become an undrafted free agent in 2023, and would sign with Detroit before being cut at the final round of preseason cuts. While the Bucs still have faith in 2022 second-round pick Kyle Trask and have John Wolford, Martinez, at 24 years old, would be an intriguing option to back up Mayfield in 2024.