Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: We have a 2088 roster!
... and 12 players in excess.
But yes, it's been a frantic post draft free agency with no less than 25 new players signed. With them, three out of contract second year pro free agents returned to Maassluis. In particular the return of defensive end Archie Exner gives me a happy face, but bringing back kickoff returner Mason Wilson and special teamer Santiago Harper are good stories.
Of the 25 new signings, one had a previous stint in Maassluis: third year guard Vernon Sam. He failed to make our 2086 regular season roster, got picked up by the Frederick Red Menace deep into that season and hung around for the entire 2087 season as well, without every seeing any action. Here he'll be battling for the third guard spot on our roster, most likely.
Of the other 24 guys are new names, five aren't undrafted rookies. Running back Braxton Szporluk finished the 2087 season on the Houston Mustangs roster, but missed out on a championship ring being inactive during the playoffs. Safety Bart Sword saw some action for the Moontown Darksiders in 2086, sat out the 2087 regular season without a contract in IHOF, but we'll give this special teamer a new opportunity. Running back Asher Ford was a rookie in 2087, but didn't get even a training camp or pre-season contract, he'll get his first shot here. Tight end Renaldo Crawford was the Toronto Lake Monsters' third round pick last season, got cut in pre-season, then went to the Frederick Red Menace in week 16 for a couple of weeks inactivity and a restricted status this off-season, only to not get a contract there and now joining us. And then there's Jumbo Mojica, a defensive tackle, third round pick for the Chicago Norsemen last season, but inactive all-season long, only very recently released by the Norsemen after ownership change.
Still keeping track? We added 19 undrafted rookie free agents to our roster. Here we go: QB Alvin Stoner, QB/KH Buba Haim, TE Brett Smith, TE Jeffery Blake, WR/KR Roman Gomes, WR Keegan Gelat, WR/KR Rickey Pineo, WR/KR/PR Santiago Messenger, G Nathan Willis, DE Terrence Gellar, LB Jace Peterson, LB Alex Palmer, LB Sebastian Strobel, CB Devin Cherron, CB Alfredo Bennett, CB Ted Frias, S Brenden Hoekstra, S Kennedy Reid and S Levi Blanchard. It would be unfair to all the other guys to pick out a guy or two who stand out, we'll let their training camp performance speak for them.
And that's it for now?
Okay, I see you wondering, what's the cap situation? We've currently got $2.73M of room to work with. Most likely the lion share of this will go to our All-IHOF tackle Howard Humphrey to extend his contract as his rookie deal is ending after this season.
We have six other players scheduled to become free agents after the season. Defensive end Andy Russell appears to be the easiest one to talk into a new deal as he's willing to drop some salary this season and have it spread out as a bonus over three season. Safeties Alexander Marty and Riddick Newsome both have reasonable contract demands, but we'll need all of what Russell is willing to give up for that duo. Defensive tackle A.J. Ritt wants a raise we can't afford for now. Punter Doug Guynes is requesting a raise that might be possible if Humphrey is willing to work with us. And then there's our star running back Reggie Thongchanh, who quite simply will be out of contract after the season. Thong' is willing to play out his rookie contract way below his market value and contract demands.
How is next season looking? The release of Heath Oliver has given us a big hit, but at $38.79M of dead cap space, we're in an okay spot. I'm currently calculating us at $115M under the $489M salary cap. It's reasonable to expect the out of contract players to take about $35M from that stack, which will put us at roughly 35 players signed and $80M to go. The draft will be very interesting with 6 additional picks, including the Houston first round pick. That's 13 more players, putting us at only 3 more empty roster spots counting towards the cap. Realistically, we'll have the cap space for a quarterback once again.
But, but, what about this season? Well, it'll be tricky. I'd love for us to bring in a mentor for Francisco Farley, providing he comes through pre-season and training camp as our obvious #1. But even then, what else can we do? A bunch of potential mentors signed with the better franchises in the league, there are 3 or 4 left on the open market. One of them is the unaffordable franchise quarterback we released not so long ago: Ellis McAlister. No, he's not coming back this season, that's out of the question, impossible, can't be done, no way we'll find the cap space to bring him back.
One more thing? Yes, one more. We'll be releasing 5 players after training camp. Quite simply, we have a roster size limit of 60 to meet. It'll be tough, but probably not out of a luxury. With no disrespect meant, at the bottom of the roster we're weaker than we have been in at least a decade.
On the positive side... Well... We salvaged Theo Bondy, Kirk Hitchcock, kept the O-line together and shockingly saw Thong' decide to hang around for one more season. We might have to go run-heavy this season to protect whomever is going to play at quarterback for us, quite possibly our weakest opening day starter aside from Calvin Snider in the inaugural 2004 campaign. Don't say "what about Malik Weaver in 2044?", he wasn't our opening day starter, Perry Coleman was and got hurt early on, at which point we made the mistake to not go with proven emergency quarterback Harry Osborne, but instead giving that Weaver kid 10 starts, somehow seeing us win 4 of those...
Anyway, that's the post-draft free agency round up. The unwrapping moments to look out for are next Monday and Wednesday, when our scouts tell us the training camp results and what they think on second look after the first bit of pre-season activity.
Until then, we'll sail on. Go Merchantmen!
* 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