The fans of the Massachusetts Pirates got an early Christmas present when the Pirates signed former NFL quarterback Cardale Jones. Jones played quarterback for Ohio State and lead the Buckeyes to an FBS national championship in 2015. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2016 but only appeared in one game for the Bills. In 2017, he was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers, and he appeared on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad in 2019.
For the 2020 season, Jones played quarterback for the DC Defenders of the XFL, and he was on the practice squad for the Edmonton Elks of the CFL in 2022. Jones is a talented dual-threat quarterback, and he should be a great fit for the brand of football played in the IFL. Adding Jones to the 2023 roster adds a significant amount of athletic talent to the Pirate’s offense. Let’s take a look at other roster moves made by the teams of the IFL during the week of Christmas.
Along with adding Cardale Jones at quarterback, the Pirates made several other roster moves last week. Offensively, the Pirates re-signed wide receiver Isaac Zico who produced 38 catches for 435 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2022. They also added wide receiver CJ Riley, and offensive linemen John Carlo Valentin and Justin Morgan. Defensively, the Pirates resigned linebacker Naashan Hughes and defensive back Chris Turner. The Pirates roster is starting to look like one of the most talented groups in the IFL.
After dominating the IFL for most of the 2022 regular season they had a disappointing ending when there were upset by the Quad City Steamwheelers in the playoffs. This week the Fighters focused on adding strength to their defense. The Fighters signed Oklahoma State defensive back Kenneth McGruder. McGruder appeared in 35 games at Oklahoma State and produced 134 tackles and 11 tackles for loss. Frisco also signed linebacker Quez Jackson. It will be interesting to see if the Fighters can once again have one of the best defenses in the league in 2023.
In a continuing effort to build their roster from scratch, the Tulsa Oilers added several players on offense and one on defense last week. Offensively, the Oilers signed running backs Tre King and Josh Robinson, quarterback Bobby Froehlich, and wide receiver Tyler Jones. Josh Robinson has professional experience with the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL and the Omaha Beef of the CIF, and he was part of an FCF championship Zappers team in 2022.
Froehlich has professional experience with the Rapid City Marshals of the CIF, and he had a cumulative quarterback rating of 138.0 at Wittenburg University. Jones played with the CIF 2021 champions Omaha Beef and produced 103 catches for 1,007 yards and 22 touchdowns. Defensively, Tulsa added 6’2″ 225 pound defensive lineman Ja’Davien Williams which played 24 games at Valdosta State.
Quad City Steamwheelers
The Steamwheelers are continuing to add talent to their 2023 roster. Offensively, the Steamwheelers added wide receiver Jerron McGaw who scored 12 touchdowns with the division 3 Adrian Bulldogs in 2018. One defense, Quad City has re-signed defensive backs, Darreon Jackson and Tajik Bagley. Bagley produced 72 tackles and 2 interceptions in 2022.
The Steamwheelers also signed defensive lineman Tevita Mo’Unga who played for BYU and produced 26 tackles, 12 sacks, and 1.5 tackles for loss. The ability to produce quarterback sacks could be critical for the Steamwheelers in 2023.
Duke City Gladiators
The Gladiators spent last week focusing on adding firepower to their offense for the 2023 season. The Gladiators signed wide receivers Lou Dorsey, Jared Elmore, and Omauri Hampton. On defense, Duke City signed defensive back Billy Eakins, and defensive lineman Jimmy Thomas. So far this off-season, the Gladiators have been one of the most active teams concerning adding talent and depth to their roster. Will it be enough to give the Gladiators a chance to earn a playoff spot in 2023?
Bay Area Panthers
So far in the off-season, it is easy to see that the Bay Area Panthers are working hard towards their goal of being the next IFL to have a 1-win season and then win the league championship the next season. The Panthers have added kicker Kevin Goessling has NFL mini-camp experience and played indoor football with Portland in 2015 and the LA Kiss in 2016.
Offensively, the Panthers have added quarterback Kato Nelson and offensive lineman Jair Joseph. On defense, Bay Area has added defensive back Tevin Homer and linebacker Bruce Bivens. Homer helped the Northern Arizona Wranglers win the IFL National Championship in 2022, and has also brought previous experience from the NFL, CFL, and AFL.
Northern Arizona Wranglers
The Wranglers are facing the challenge of defending their 2022 IFL National Championship. Northern Arizona signed linebacker Brandon Burks to their defense last week. Offensively, they have added wide receivers, Ryan Wisniewski and Andre Williams. Williams has prior IFL experience with the Bismarck Bucks in 2021. Wisniewski is a 6’4″ 210-pound receiver that played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and appeared in mini-camp for the Green Bay Packers.
Sioux Falls Storm
To return to championship-contender status, the Storm continues to add talent to their 2023 roster. The Storm has re-signed defensive lineman Chima Dunga, Dunga produced 19 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass breakup in 2022. Dunga appeared in 6 games for the Storm in 2022. Sioux Falls has also re-signed defensive lineman Isaiah Blackmon, in 2022 Blackmon produced 11 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, a fumble recovery, and 1 pass breakup. The offenses facing the Storm in 2023 will have to contend with both of these talented defensive linemen.
Additional Roster Moves
The Iowa Barnstormers have re-signed wide receiver, Kezlow Smith. The Barnstormers will need Smith to be a playmaker for their offense as they work to return to the IFL playoffs finishing 4th in the East division in 2022. The Green Bay Blizzard signed defensive lineman Carl “CeCe” Jefferson to their 2023 roster. Jefferson played college football a the University of Florida and has professional experience with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL and mini-camp with the Seattle Seahawks. Both the Blizzard and Barnstormers will be battling to improve their standing in the East division in 2023.
Follow me on Twitter: @AaronSauter7
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