The Stallions have made a couple more “splash” signings by bringing in a new quarterback, and bringing back a former Stallion. If you’re looking for name value how about a third round pick from the 2022 NFL Draft? 

Matt Corral Coming to Start?

Matt Corral is a case study of what can happen to young quarterbacks when a team changes directions. In 2022 the Panthers under Matt Rhule drafted Matt Corral in round 3. Fast forward one year and the Carolina Panthers under Frank Reich draft Bryce Young. Immediately this threw Corral’s future into question. 

Let’s back up a bit though. During his rookie season after seeing his pre-draft grades swing wildly from first round to fifth round he landed right in the middle as a third round pick. Drafted by a team that didn’t have a long term answer at quarterback, or apparently coach..Corral was drafted with the intention of developing him over the next year or two before turning him loose as the starter. 

On the surface that plan looked like a good one. In his preseason debut doubts arose when Corral went 1 of 9 for 11 yards against Washington. In week two against the Patriots, Corral played much better completing 9 of 15 attempts for 58 yards, adding 3 carries for 6 yards. He however would suffer a Lisfranc injury that prematurely ended 2022 for him. Given their initial plan to sit Corral for a year this injury really wasn’t the worst thing in the world this allowed him to focus on learning the playbook and preparing for a QB battle in 2023. 

Only Matt Rhule didn’t make it that far. The Panthers sent him and his Brinks truck with over $30 million in it packing after just five games in his third season, Corral’s rookie year. This inevitably meant he would have a new coach and likely more competition in 2023. In came Young, and they signed veteran Andy Dalton. Despite this Corral initially made the 53 man roster after going 28 of 47 for 249 yards. He did not throw any touchdowns, threw 1 interception and was sacked 5 times fumbling twice and losing one. He did show off his mobility with 4 carries for 47 yards. 

He would end up being released right after the final cuts in what was likely a roster gymnastics tactic to sneak him on the practice squad. That backfired when he didn’t make it through waivers. He was claimed by the New England Patriots on August 31st, before he reportedly left the squad without notice for two days. He returned only to be released and it was reported he would be signed to the practice squad. Only the following day that report was refuted and Corral spent 2023 out of football just one year after being drafted. 

Mental Health

There has been talk that Corral was struggling with his mental health during his time with the Patriots which led to him stepping away from the team. While to some of us, stepping away from that opportunity seems insane, but no one can or should judge what another person needs to do to clear their head. I applaud Corral for taking care of himself even when he was facing criticism and the potential loss of an NFL opportunity. Luckily it’s not over for Corral who has a chance to sign with the two-time USFL champion Birmingham Stallions who put nearly 50% of their roster in the NFL in 2023. 

Demarquis Gates Returns

Demarquis Gates is a legend in the spring football realm. A veteran of the AAF, XFL 2020, TSL, CFL, and USFL in 2022, he found a home with Chicago in 2023. He lasted two entire seasons with the Bears. He was active for a total of 7 games in two seasons, spending the rest of that time on the practice squad. He collected two tackles and a fumble recovery. 

After making it through the 2022 offseason, and 2023 season, it appeared on the surface that Gates had solidified an NFL home. Just after the Bears were eliminated from the playoffs he was waived and was not brought back. This left him available for the Stallions to bring back for the UFL season. The former All-USFL and Midseason All-XFL linebacker will now play in the UFL in an attempt to once again find an NFL home for 2024. During his two year stint in Chicago, Gates pocketed nearly $800,000 allowing him to continue to focus on football even while taking a pay cut to play in the UFL. 

Corresponding Moves

In two corresponding moves the Stallions released OL Cam Carter formerly of the New Jersey Generals. Carter followed his former offensive coordinator to Birmingham in the Dispersal Draft but now is left to find a new team for 2024. 

Zaquandre White was released as well. White faced an uphill battle to make a crowded running back room this season. Now with the Stallions bringing in another quarterback, six running backs was simply too many. Carrying four running backs, and fullback Bobby Holly into training camp seems to be the ideal number to prepare for the 2024 season. 

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Best of luck to Carter and White in their search for their next home. 

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Sam Just

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