The United Football League was designed to develop football players for the NFL, but if the UFL is going to provide this service, it's going to expect to be compensated.

Commissioner Michael Huyghue announced Thursday that UFL players who sign contracts to active NFL rosters before Feb. 1, 2011 will have to pay a transfer fee to the UFL. Players who sign contracts to NFL practice squads or who sign NFL Futures contracts will have their fees waived.

The plan is theoretically a win-win for both the UFL and the players. Any player who is able to sign an NFL contract will have done so because of the exposure and development he received from being allowed to play in the UFL, therefore the fee is like a commission cost. As for the UFL, which is trying to emerge as the premier developmental league in football, the money raised through the fees will help the league expand and perhaps entice more competition.

"As we continue to grow the value of the UFL, we invest time and resources in our players and the transfer fee is a component of the business model of our league," said Hyghue. "If a player is going to play a role with a NFL team, we need to be compensated for helping to develop that player."

The 2010 season was the second year of the UFL's existence, and the first year that it has implemented an NFL transfer fee.