Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Goodbye guys
Hold on, don't panic, I'm not going anywhere!
We will say goodbye to 11 players that have been with us for many seasons. One of them retired, ten others were today told we'll release them. Yes, Ellis McAlister is one of them.
Guard Harvey Hank retired during the off-season. Rarely have we used a first round pick on guards, but Hank has been an exception and with good reason. Since opening day in 2076, he's been a starter on our offensive line all the way through our playoff loss last season. In 12 seasons he played in 202 games (191 regular season, 11 playoffs), missing just 1 game in that time span.
Running back Leonard Belin played 6 seasons with us. A sixth round pick in 2082, he barely played that rookie season. Things drastically changed in the next season when he went into our rotation as the main ball carrier. Over the past five seasons, we flipflopped between him and Reggie Thongchanh. Belin ran for 1,247 yards or more in 3 of those seasons, coming 15 yards short of the 5,000-yard mark, with a 4.5 yards per carry average and 33 total touchdowns. His tally ends at 97 games played for us, unless we re-hire him later on...
Wide receiver Artie Blazewicz turned from a sixth round pick into our WR2. In his 2080 rookie campaign, he was exclusively a special teamer, but in his second season he was our premier kickoff return man, the alternate punt returner and most prominently notches his first (and so far only) 1,000-yard receiving season. Playing behind Theodore Bondy, he was rarely getting a lot of targets, but at 15.2 yards per catch he's clearly been a deep threat receiver for us. He scored 23 total touchdowns for us.
Linebacker Glenn Brewer was considered a complete defender. Our late 2077 first round pick was a day one starter, his role has been a full time starter until last season, when he moved down in the depth chart to the third linebacker role. He topped 100 tackles four times, but also accumulated 43.0 sacks, 10 interceptions and 84 defended passes. His number of games played for the Merchantmen will likely stop at 187.
Defensive end Ezekiel Wylie went from an undrafted rookie to special teamer, then a loyal member of our d-line rotation and a much appreciated mentor last season. It's been only 7 seasons, but that's plenty enough to rack up to 112 regular season games and 9 playoffs games of activity.
Tight end Jessie Taylor will leave the Merchantmen after just 3 full seasons. He was a free agent signing in the 2085 off-season. The plan was to make him a key run blocker, but due to our game plan decisions, it hasn't worked out well and he became even more of a third or fourth choice receiving target. He's made 111 catches for 1,064 yards and 5 touchdowns in 48 regular season games, while playing on all 7 playoffs games in those 3 seasons.
Fullback Tristan Cochrane joined us as a fifth round pick in 2081 and as such spent 7 seasons on roster. We had hoped to turn him into an elite blocker, which he has all the skills for, but reality is that our game plan hasn't been in his favor. 10 carries, 81 receptions, 13 key run blocks, that's his tally in 112 regular season games. We might have found a new role for him with a different game plan in the future, but we're going to promote Clay Brosseau to the role.
Tight end Miles Barker has been another supposedly run blocker, but in reality he's made a grand total of 1 key run block in 64 regular season games and 7 playoffs games. He was an undrafted rookie signing back in 2084, but we just haven't found a way to get him to play much in our game plan.
Defensive end Gino Kemp joined us as a fifth round pick in the 2080 draft. His rookie campaign was silent, but his second season we put him into a leading pass rush role. His tally ran up to 39.5 sacks in 115 regular season games, while also playing in 9 playoffs games during his tenure with us. With a 7.1 pass rush percentage, he's been our most threatening rusher in that time span.
Defensive tackle Erik Shrader was our fourth round pick in 2080. He's been in an active role as a rookie, although his role to a fulltime starter had to wait until his fourth season. He played in 127 regular season and 9 playoffs games for us, scoring 2 fumble return touchdowns.
And then there's Ellis McAlister. A 2074 sixth round pick afterthought at first, but from his first training camp and onwards, we knew this guy had more into him than all the scouts in the league realized. He had to ride the bench for 5 long seasons. And then the 2079 season rolled around. With McAlister at quarterback, we had a 12-4 campaign, with him throwing for 4,193 yards and 27 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. All in all, it might have been his best regular season. That season came to a painful halt in a 43-17 drubbing in which hew threw for 5 interceptions, a rarity even for McAlister. Long story short, he's been our starting quarterback for the last 9 seasons, with that last one being his worst in passing numbers. His contract demands are no longer in line with what he has done for us. So, sadly, it was time to move on.
Wait… Isn't kick holder Karsten Muchnick the only "quarterback" on roster? Why yes, indeed. We hope to re-sign Francisco Farley before the draft is over, because after that he'll go into the open market. Why would we want Farley back? Well, frankly, I have good hopes that he's our new hidden gem, that needs some polishing, but could be much better than all the scouts in the league think he is. We may dream, no?
So, that's where we're at. Basically quarterback-less and still $151 million short of getting under the cap with 53 players signed. Of course, we could just find a way to get out of the $135 million gap. Yes, all these cuts have saved us close to $100 million already.
Still, we're going to have to trade 2 or 3 players from our elite four: Theo Bondy, Kirk Hitchcock, Oliver Heath and Craig McCorkle. I'm hoping to salvage Bondy most prominently, but as you can imagine, he's currently the hottest player in negotiations. A tough situation.
And then there's the situation with all those potential hold outs, primarily our running sensation Reggie Thongchanh. It's getting less and less likely we'll be able to hold onto him, even despite the aforementioned release of Leo Belin.
Fun times for troubleshooter general managers. Not so much for those that restock through the draft season after season. My drafting skills have taken their toll now, combined with the stubbornness and stupidity of the player agents that keep on turning down better contracts than what their players want. So be it, this is where we're at.
I once said: Maassluis doesn't rebuild, we reload. "Restock" might have been better suited, but that's where I'm at. We'll get over this hump, fast.
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail