The indoor free agency period is in full swing across all the leagues, but right now some major signings are being made in the National Arena League (NAL).
Arena Football Talk looks at the notable signings across the league and who has the advantages so far in the NAL.
Sign: WR BJ Bunn, WR Joe Morrow, OL Jeremy Schonbrunner (NAL-Lehigh Valley), OL Darriel Mack, OL Zach Hooks (AAL-Atlanta Havoc), WR Trever Kennedy (NAL-Jacksonville Sharks)
Resign: OL Chad Kolumber, OL Joe Harris, QB Charles McCullum, DB Michael Green, DB Darius Thomas, DL Jamal Palmer, DL Walter Thomas, DB Cedric Poole
For Carolina, bringing in competition for all positions is key in avoiding the sophomore slump. The second year franchise has the most to lose after winning it all in their first ever season, especially with the NAL's leader in offensive yards and offensive touchdowns McCullum.
To protect him will be a massively reworked offensive line, mixed with rookies to the NAL and rookies to the indoor game in general. One player (Mack) is coming out of retirement to play after becoming a police officer. It will be an important to see if he and the rest of the line can protect and serve the Cobra faithful this season.
Sign: OL AJ Harmon (NAL-Jacksonville Sharks), LB Martay Mattox (NAL-Maine Mammoths)
Resign: QB Mason Espinosa, OL Nate Isles, C Rony Barrow, DL Darrius Rosser, DB Shattle Fenteng, DL/LB Greg Hall Jr, WR Darryl Thompson
The Columbus Lions are focusing on retaining their team from the earlier signings of stars and depth players alike. Espinosa was NAL Offensive Player of the Year last season and will be taking helm of the Lions offense for the third straight season. But now he has first team NAL offensive lineman Harmon to protect him. With Isles and Barrow returning, that offensive line will be one of the strongest in all indoor football, regardless of league.
The surprise signing was Mattox, as the former Mammoth migrates south. The linebacker had four picks in six games, so being able to better dictate the turnover battle will only help this dominant team.
Sign: QB Jake Medlock (IFL-Cedar Rapids), QB Liam Nadler (CIF-Sioux City), OL Jabari Buckley (IFL-Sioux Falls), OL Fred Ruff (NAL-Mass Pirates), OL Aaron Bellazin (CIF-Texas Revolution), OL Justin Wells (AAL- High Country Grizzlies), DB Justin Sullivan (AAL-Cape Fear Heroes), WR Ja'Juan Story
Resign: C Derrick Zeigler, WR Chris Gilchrist, DB Marvin Ross, OL Wilson Bell, DL Damien Jacobs, WR Cody Saul
Few teams have taken the phrase "go out and get 'em" quite like the Jacksonville Sharks. The team obviously has shown that they were not happy with how their season ended: a 73-48 loss to the eventual NAL champs Carolina Cobras. In the process, Jacksonville has created a QB controversy pitting indoor journeyman Nadler against the 2018 IFL passing leader in Medlock.
The oft-forgotten part of QB battles though are the impact on wide receivers. True rookie Story will be joining the team from TCU, while Gilchrist and Saul will be getting used to two very different styles of quarterback. Lots of new faces on the offensive line will need to stress the repetition against the typically strong defensive lines of the NAL. The sky is the limit for Jacksonville, but it all hinges on how the entire passing game comes together.
Sign: no one
Resign: QB Jonathan Bane, K Henry Nell, WR Edgar Allen Poe, C Kyle Powell, DL Derrick Lyles, WR Devante Jenkins
Well the good news for Maine is that they brought back some great talent. Bane is a serviceable quarterback with lots of experience in Bismarck, Bloomington, Colorado and Tampa Bay. Nell is a record setting kicker and Poe was third in the league in receptions.
Problem is the lack of new talent. The defense was able to keep scores low to keep Maine in the game, but an explosive skill player on offense is desperately needed to fix the second-to-last total offense and worst rushing offense in the league. A couple of familiar faces have already signed with other teams, so finding NAL talent in Portland will continue to be a struggle.
Sign: OL Ruben Carter (AFL-Baltimore Brigade, CFL-Montreal Alouettes), DB Manny Asprilla (IFL-Green Bay Blizzard)
Resign: OL Mitchell Bell, QB Sean Brackett, DL JD Griggs, DB Jiante Northington
The Pirates have been fairly quiet so far this offseason, but made some splashes so far with really high quality signings. Carter is a standout protector and someone that can help improve the protection of NAL MVP Brackett. On the other side of the ball, Asprilla is a move the fans can love as he played in the NFL and for local NCAA ball for Boston College.
On top of that the NAL interception leader Northington and team sack leader Griggs really bring some statistical clout to the Pirates. Massachusetts could really use that defensive boost to make this a championship team, so hopefully the Pirates can plunder another star defensive back to make sure this defense is ship shape for next season.
Lehigh Valley Steelhawks
As the team is up for sale, no major signings have been named at time of publication.