First XFL Trade of Season Sends Disgruntled Lineman to Defenders

Dec 17, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) looks to pass against New York Jets defensive tackle Anthony Johnson (75) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The XFL saw its first regular season trade on Friday as the DC Defenders acquired defensive lineman Anthony Johnson from the Los Angeles Wildcats in exchange for defensive back Bradley Sylve.

This move comes just days after reports surfaced that Johnson was unhappy with the Wildcats after the team fired defensive coordinator Thomas “Pepper” Johnson.

Johnson, 27, went undrafted out of LSU in 2014 but latched on with the Miami Dolphins, spending parts of two seasons with them. He joined the Redskins’ practice squad in 2015 before joining the Patriots in 2016. Things didn’t work out in New England, but he quickly found a new home with the New York Jets for parts of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. His last NFL action came with the Colts, for whom he played in 2017 and 2018. Johnson latched on with the AAF’s Memphis Express in 2019 but was forced to land a new job with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders after the AAF folded.

Johnson was named both a USA Today and Parade High School All-American in 2010 and CBS and Sporting News Freshman All-American in 2011. He posted 16 tackles and one fumble recovery in his time in the NFL. In his lone XFL game, Johnson made two tackles.

Johnson is expected to be active for DC’s game against the New York Guardians on Saturday at 2 p.m. EST.

Sylve, meanwhile, is also a 27-year-old who went undrafted out of college. The Alabama product has spent time on the practice squads of the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints but has yet to appear on an NFL active roster. He spent 2019 with the AAF’s Birmingham Iron but was forced to find a new job when the league went under. In his lone XFL game, Sylve picked off Seattle Dragons quarterback Brandon Silvers and returned it all the way for a pick-six. He is expected to be active for Los Angeles’ game against the Dallas Renegades on Sunday at 3 p.m. EST.

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