The New Jersey Generals have re-signed USFL All-Star OT Terry Poole for the upcoming 2023 season, which kicks off in April. The Generals also announced the signing of three other players as the team fortifies their roster for season 2. Mississippi CB Trae Elston, Tulane TE Charles Jones, and Baylor WR Chris Platt Jr. Elston is back with New Jersey’s defense for another season. Chris Platt returns for another shot with NJ after initially being drafted by the Generals but let go before last season.
Generals Season 2 Free Agency Challenges
Mike Riley’s North Division Champion Generals have had a hectic offseason. New Jersey has signed or re-signed a combination of nearly two dozen players since their run to a USFL championship ended in Canton last July.
The latest transactions, especially re-upping Terry Poole, carry a lot of significance. Because USFL teams have had to not only combat losses of players to NFL rosters this offseason but also the re-emergence of the XFL, which begins play next month.
Terry Poole was recently drafted by the San Antonio Brahmas in the XFL’s supplemental draft on New Year’s. The day after 2022, USFL players saw their contracts expire.
The Generals have lost some key players and coaches this off-season. Retaining players like Terry Poole is essential in a competitive landscape for talent. There’s no doubt that the new CBA ratified for players, which has upped pay and coverage, has helped play a part in their return to the USFL in 2023.
The Generals will again be playing in a Hub setting, reportedly in Michigan or Canton, Ohio. However, the raise in pay negotiated by the UFPA, the United Steelworkers Union, and the USFL has re-opened the door for critical players to return.
New Jersey Generals Re-Sign Standout OT Terry Poole
Terry Poole was one of four New Jersey Generals to make the All-USFL offense in 2022.
Poole was one of the very best linemen in the entire league last year. A trend he has maintained playing Spring Pro Football since 2019. He was one of the highest-graded linemen in the AAF for the San Diego Fleet. Poole was also one of the top three graded offensive linemen by Pro Football Focus in XFL 2020, protecting the blindside of league standout P.J. Walker. The two players ahead of him in grading, Storm Norton and Michael Dunn, have played three straight seasons in the NFL.
In 2022, Terry Poole was one of the critical cogs in New Jersey’s potent ground attack. He helped lead the way for the USFL’s best running back duo in Darius Victor and Trey Williams. The Generals led the league in every metric attached to the running game.
Terry Poole Tailor-Made Spring Pro League Player
Alternative pro football leagues have always been judged by their quarterback play. But the one area that has always been the most challenging for teams to obtain quality is the offensive line position.
The soon-to-be 31-year-old Terry Poole, a former fourth-round draft selection by the Seattle Seahawks out of San Diego State, is a premium player in spring pro football. He checks all the boxes from a pedigree and experience standpoint. And the truth is that anyone who has watched him play since 2019 knows that he has gotten better over time.
Because of his athleticism and quick feet, despite being 6’5, and 323 lbs, Poole was typecast as primarily a pass protector who could not move defenders in the ground game. That and injuries had some questioning his durability and toughness. But last season in the USFL was Poole’s best as a pro in the latter department. He was a dominant force on a New Jersey team that was run-dominant on their way to a 9-1 regular season record.
Leagues like the USFL are tailor-made for young players in their early twenties. They provide a window for USFL 2022 MVP and current Dallas Cowboys pro bowl returner KaVontae Turpin to launch long careers. Today, Turpin was named to the inaugural Players All-Pro team via the NFL Players Association. The very first list which is an extremely high honor.
The sky is still the limit for young players like Turpin, and his emergence in USFL 2022 is a clear example of that.
But if not for the existence of spring pro football leagues, veteran players like Terry Poole would’ve been cast aside long ago, forced to hang up their pads and look for another career.
Despite his impressive run the last three seasons playing spring ball. At nearly 31 years of age, Terry Poole is no longer on the NFL radar. Poole’s age works heavily against him.
The AAF, XFL, and now USFL have made it possible for Poole to continue playing professionally. And he’s been doing it at a high level for a while now.
In pro sports, every signing in the offseason is treated like a victory by teams. But this particular move by the Generals, bringing back Terry Poole, is a massive one.