As NFL free agency begins, several members of the New York Guardians can be potentially called upon to fill in crucial gaps and needs.
The New York Guardians’ season is over, but several members can live on with newfound opportunities in the NFL. Free agency is underway in the league and the XFL’s cessation of operations opens the pool to dozens of new names.
New York, tied for first place in the East Division at the time of suspension, features several talented players that could be well on their way to new chances and, in some cases, returns to NFL circuit….
OL Anthony Coyle
The Guardians had some trouble on the offensive line in the early going, but they got things together in part thanks to the efforts of the Staten Island native and Fordham alum. Over the last two weeks of the season, New York put up 266 rushing yards. Coyle’s efforts were rewarded by a nomination to the XFL’s midseason team.
LB Ben Heeney
Heeney had one of the most inspirational stories in the XFL, returning to the gridiron after his strong career at Kansas was interrupted by his involvement in a car accident and later the suicide of his best friends. After a few years with the Raiders, Heeney joined up with the Guardians and became one of their most vocal leaders. The linebacker had team captaincy honors by the time everything was finished and complimented his status with a team-best 30 tackles.
K Matthew McCrane
Not only was McCrane perfect (8-for-8) during his XFL showing, but he was also able to hit it from deep as well. Five of his eight conversions came from at least 40 yards out, including two from at least 50. McCrane previously served as the leg for the Oakland Raiders, so an NFL return, especially to a league that’s so hungry for kickers, is definitely in the cards.
WR Mekale McKay
Is McKay cursed? Considering his last two endeavors came in the extinct Alliance of American Football and the suspended XFL, it’s certainly possible. But McKay can certainly make way back to the NFL after making several big plays at New York’s XFL level. He bounced around several NFL camps (most recently the summer of 2018 in Dallas) before the AAF’s San Antonio Commanders came calling.
QB Luis Perez
The Guardians were undefeated in two games with Perez as their starter, and he wound up leading the team in yardage, completion percentage, and touchdown passes. Perez, a Division II football legend, previously spent time in NFL camps but his brief XFL tenure could probably net him a more permanent spot as a backup.
CB Jamar Summers
If the Guardians needed some assistance on defense, Summers seemed to be the one to rise to the occasion. An interception in East Rutherford set up the de facto game-winning field in the team’s final home game, and he opened things up at MetLife Stadium with a fumble returned for a touchdown. The Orange High School (NJ) graduate previously made a name for himself with the Birmingham Iron of the AAF.
RB Darius Victor
An earner of 3,309 yards and scorer of 41 touchdowns at Towson, Victor went unselected in 2017’s draft due to his size (5’8, 209 lbs). He was able to make a name for himself in the latter stages of the XFL season, breaking off several big runs to boost his rushing total. Victor wound up finishing sixth in the XFL in rushing (238 yards) and his average carry (4.3) was good for fifth amongst rushers with at least 40 carries.
DL Cavon Walker
For the time being, Walker is the current sack master of the rebooted XFL, topping the league with 4.5 sacks. For a team in desperate need of a pass rush, Walker could be a perfect solution, perhaps even in his own backyard with the Jets or Giants. He has previously picked up 2.5 sacks over the last two NFL preseasons, including one in last summer’s finale with Kansas City.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags