Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2092, a new beginning?
Continuation is the goal.
Yes, 2091 was a fine season. "Good" would also qualify. It wasn't great, for that more would have had to happen. But overall, I think we played 12-4 kind of football. The results in the playoffs were a reason to think the regular season wasn't a complete fluke.
But, as usual with good seasons, the follow up season will start with a for us usual cap hell situation. Of the 32 teams in the league, 28 are neatly $22M or more under the cap. Houston is $16M over, North Plainfield $33M, Fort Wayne $40M over and we are once again the masterpiece at $110M over the cap. That figure includes draft picks, technically we're $84M over the cap, but with 43 players signed, our draft situation with an additional 1st and 2nd round pick make our incoming picks count up to $26M.
A result of trade, we're holding both the 1.29 and 1.30 picks. We 'earned' that #29 overall by making it to the AOC Championship game, the #30 overall obviously comes from the NAC runners up, the Oakland Black Panthers, who came of a league best 14-2 regular season, tied with the eventual IHOF Bowl winning Tucker Tigers. We're drafting at the #29 spot in every round because of that, but result of another trade, we're also holding the Moontown Darksiders 1.27 pick.
But back to the cap situation, how dire is it? We'll find out after having spoken with all the key players. It's reasonable to think we won't get by without making a tough decision or two, but for now I'm still optimistic we'll be able to salvage this group of players.
One player that won't be returning is defensive end Andy Russell. After 10 seasons of service he decided to step away from football. Quite a bummer, he's been healthy throughout his career, never missed a game since we picked him in the 2082 draft in the fifth round. Yeah, he's one of our many fifth round projects that worked out. In those 160 regular season and 11 playoffs games, we've mostly made him part of the rotation. With 53.5 sacks, 127 hurries, 31 blocked passes, he ranks 11th, 14th and 14th all-time for our franchise.
Other former Merchantmen retiring are kicker Chance Arnold (3rd round pick in 2080, we let him walk as a free agent after 4 seasons), tight end Miles Barker (undrafted rookie in 2084, 4 years of service with us, being a starter in 2085, a season where we lost in the conference final) and wide receiver Tracy Arntt (7th round pick in 2088, with 3 seasons on roster as a special teamer and backup kickoff returner).
On the opposite of things, sort of, by virtue of not participating in the IHOF Bowl, we were allowed to sign a bunch of free agents, making them technically part of our end of season roster. Six of seven were rookies that we released in pre-season, the seventh a quarterback named Nate Marek, that went undrafted in 2091 and didn't make his way to a pre-season roster. He had a decent Solecismic Score (35), very high scramble frequency, excellent timing and apparently is an elite kick holder (Brandon Bell, watch out!). Which six players returned to the Merchantmen roster? Seventh round quarterback Bert Martin, sixth round running back Patrick Joseph, fullback Tracy Rhodes, center Brady Burke, defensive end Trent Donovan and linebacker Van Bertolone.
With those 7 guys added, that means we go into the off-season with no less than 10 restricted free agents. That means 3 guys were on roster, being now second year pro special teamer/linebacker Trenton Prescott, special teamer/safety Jon Brotzman and guard Marvin Silvan, who became a starter for us last season due to injuries. If their demands are right, we'll certainly want to bring them back. Brotzman is a starting caliber free safety, if we can limit his action to formations with 3 or more receivers. Silvan had impressive numbers for a replacement guy with 15 key run blocks and 3 sacks allowed in 12 starts. Prescott might be expendable, he was active in just 1 game.
Six players are true free agents this off-season. Tight end Sherman Bridges is unlikely to return, we signed him primarily to mentor Clay Gaynor and hung around for a second season to also mentor Clarence Gore: a job well done! Running back Asher Ford s worth re-signing for that special teams role, as is linebacker Alec Palmer. Backup left tackle Myron Hamilton fell flat when he got a chance to fill in, we can say he's not the kind of left tackle we're used to have. Center Jared Labbe wants to leave the team badly, demanding a trade after not getting a chance to fill injured Butch Pearson's spot on the line; his stint in Maassluis wil end after 6 seasons of exceeding expectations of an undrafted rookie. Last, but not least, defensive tackle A.J. Ritt has 8 seasons of service and last season I decided it was a good idea to increase the roles of our backup defensive tackles to keep the two starters from getting exhausted.
But for now it's waiting to see what we can do with our cap situation. After having explored that, we'll take a look at the for now unknown draft class. And after that, well, the circle of life in football continues with a look at players that might hold out (I'm afraid quarterback Moe Sheldon wants a raise), etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
2091 was good, let's make 2092 even better.
* 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