By The Man on the Inside
The ‘Man on the Inside’ makes a return with the second part of his three part series. Again, he would like to stress that this information was gathered over a period of time and now could be old news or just inaccurate speculation. This doesn’t stop it being fun. More free agents are under scrutiny, and read to the very end for rumours that have been heard by our ‘Inside Man’. Enjoy!
Michael Martin, Quarterback
We begin tonight’s dive into the pit of rumours with a look at second season quarterback, Michael Martin. Martin’s debut season in the SFL saw him showcase flashes of brilliance, interspersed with moments that called into question his ability to lead an offence down the field. The master of the ‘near comeback’, Martin would seemingly start games hot, dramatically cool off over the middle two quarters again and fire up all his cylinders when the contest looked out of reach (part of the reason why London went 3-9). Having spoken to the Knights’ management, a large part of the young player’s release was due to a needed culture change in the locker room, rather than his ability on the field. The 6’3, 225 lb thrower has good size for the position and a decent enough arm to make all the throws, showing this especially when hitting Jockamo Jones in the seam. It appears that London wanted an enigmatic leader, something that Martin was too inexperienced to provide. That being said, there are franchises where I can see Martin filling a need perfectly whilst hitting the ground running.
Two situations i see the young quarterback finding himself in are: leading a young expansion team of rookies, using his experience of a season in the SFL to guide them to a strong regular season record – or – joining up with D.R. Sim, Warren Murray and co. over in Houston. The Hyenas have parted ways with Ahmed Cheema (who spluttered through the season despite Houston reaching the playoffs) which opens the door for another young offensive general. I see it as a great situation for him. He’ll have the experience and nous of the Doctor to pass to, plus the fall back of Warren Murray, who recently resigned to a hefty contract at running back. One thing is for sure, the future is looking bright for Michael Martin, as long as he lands in the right place.
DJ Majesty, Linebacker
DJ Majesty returned to the SFL at the start of Season 10 after a 3 season break (if the website is correct) and arguably had his best season yet. As a run stopping banger, Majesty fits the bill. With 93 total tackles and nearly 10 for a loss on the season, Majesty proved to be a solid contributor within Houston’s stellar defensive scheme. The unsung hero acted as the workhorse in the centre of that defense, whilst bigger name players like Ryan Michaels and Chad Takkull made the noticeable plays. As high praise as that is, I speculate that part of the reason Majesty left Houston recently was due to his MAMMOTH contract. The expert run reader is one of the top 3 highest paid linebackers in the league, and I don’t think the Hyenas liked his production vs his cap hit. There are spots that Majesty can take, but I’m unsure whether he will be able to fill one without taking a wage cut.
Multiple teams have expressed a need at linebacker, with Denver and Dallas being two that stick in my mind. The perfect landing spot for Majesty however – as I see it – is with the St. Louis Gladiators. The Glads have publicly announced they have both inside and outside linebacker gaps that need filling and the honest, hard-working nature of DJ’s play suits that defense down to the ground. I see him fitting like a glove in the middle of that defense. It remains to be seen whether the Gladiators management have noticed what I have.
Tristan Carr, Tight End
I dont think Tristan Carr really got a fair shot in Vancouver. He was a high values player at his position, underused I’m the passing game and his numbers reflect that. 316 yards and 1 touchdown over 12 games doesn’t love up to his potential, and any team that consider approaching him need to be ready to utilise him in the right way because he one of the highest paid tight ends in the league. Some may argue that a value such as his isn’t warranted, but you mustn’t overlook what Tristan brings off the field. Carr is a locker room presence. A guy who can keep morale high when things are going well, a teammate you can count on when times are tough. An active locker room is something that teams covet but don’t always get (according to sources) and Carr would certainly help squads in that respect.
So where could Tristan Carr land? Strangely enough, there haven’t been many teams professing a need for a tight end, most deciding to plug the market for a receiver. This can be deceptive though as this position is one that squads would look to fill fast, getting a solid piece in before adding the thrill-factor. The two teams I can see Carr landing in during free agency are Dallas or London. Both franchises are looking for reliable, locker room presences. Dallas especially, as they struggled with player progression during Season 10 which severely hurt their chances. Carr joining one of these two teams would act as no surprise to me despite neither publicly requesting tight end free agents contact them. Expect one of these two locker rooms to spice up should the tight end sign.
Cain Vasquez, Strong Safety
The second former London Knights player on this list (no surprise considering their mass exodus of players after a 3-9 campaign) Cain Vasquez is a strong safety that doesn’t get the credit and attention he deserves. A defensive Captain for the Knights, Vasquez had a great season, his numbers reflecting his hard-nosed play style. 1 interception doesn’t jump off the page, but 13 pass deflections and well over 100 tackles shows the all-round play he can put on show. Vasquez is the type of football guy that every squad needs. A commited leader who will exhibit professionalism and game intelligence, the 232-pound safety will be an asset to multiple teams across the league.
The strong safety split from the Knights after verbally commiting to a different team, which begs the question…which franchise managed to entice Cain away from London? My sources (rather reliably) inform me that Vasquez will be plying his trade outside of the Eastern Conference in Season 11, meaning it is unlikely he will have to visit his old stomping grounds. It’s hard to predict where he will land, with so many teams needing quality safeties. The timing of the announcement that Vasquez was leaving the London Knights initially lead me to believe that the Denver Nightwings had come in for him, however as the days have passed, teams like Vancouver and the San Francisco Sharks grabbed my attention. As much as I love the fit in Denver, Vancouver or San Fran (replacing Max Jackson) seem like the more likely poachers. in a week, we’ll see.
On the Grapevine
- Rumours are circling detailing the ‘real reason’ why Robert Redford left the Sioux Falls Sparrows. Redford, it is said, departed the dirty birds’ offense to help one of the three expansion teams ‘hit the ground running’. Now that the expansion draft has been modified, let’s hope Redford still gets to carry out his rather noble plan.
- Steven Bush, Oklahoma City’s number 2 wide receiver initially endeavoured to retire his player and start again as a quarterback. Recent reports however contradict this information, with Bush apparently stating that he will indeed stay as a gold value wide receiver. Tulsa and Atlanta are rumoured to be the front runners to secure Bush’s services. I’d put money on him suiting up in a Desperado uniform this summer.
- Has Ahmed Cheema left the SFL? The former Houston Hyena has been extremely quiet over the last few weeks, with some across the league predicting that he has left it all together. One of two things will be true: he will have, in fact, left, or, a franchise will make a huge splash and reveal a rejuvenated Cheema out of nowhere. Personally, I hope it’s the second option.
Stay tuned for more juicy stories coming out of the SFL.