Birmingham Stallions fans received devastating news on Wednesday when the team announced starting quarterback J’Mar Smith had to undergo season-ending surgery on his left hand. The loss of Smith immediately turned Alex McGough—the Stallions’ first pick in the 2022 USFL Quarterback Draft—into the guy in Birmingham. McGough was an ideal replacement, given his 3-0 record as a starter last year, his performance in the 2022 championship victory when Smith battled cramps, and his exceptional outing last week after Smith had to leave the game. Holtz consistently said the team needs both Smith and McGough, and it turns out he was more correct than he’d probably like to be.
The Stallions’ third quarterback on the roster, Jalen Morton, also received a promotion with Smith going down. Morton, a Prairie View A&M product who last played with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, is now McGough’s backup. The Stallions’ coaches and players have been lavish in their praise of Morton, and he seems prepared to step in should the Stallions need him.
However, with Smith out for the season, the Stallions needed a third quarterback on the roster. Who would General Manager Zachary Potter and Head Coach Skip Holtz sign? An old, familiar foe it turns out. The Stallions announced today the signing of quarterback Kyle Sloter.
Stallions and USFL fans are familiar with Sloter, the lone quarterback to make the 2022 All-USFL team. Playing for the Stallions’ rival, the New Orleans Breakers, Sloter had 1,798 passing yards and 9 touchdowns last regular season. He led New Orleans to the playoffs, where they fell to the Stallions for a third time in 2022. So it appears the old adage is true: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
Sloter left the USFL this offseason for an opportunity with the Jacksonville Jaguars, playing with the team through preseason. However, Sloter was eventually cut after failing to make the 53-man roster or practice squad. He then signed with the Arlington Renegades of the XFL. He did not win the starting job initially but eventually took over for quarterback Drew Plitt in week three. He was commanding in his first outing with the Renegades, going 18-23 with 124 yards and a touchdown. However, he struggled after his first start, throwing three interceptions next week against a better opponent. After a few more weeks of declining play, the Renegades and Sloter agreed to part ways.
Now, Sloter returns to the USFL—only this time with his former rival. It remains to be seen where Sloter fits into the Stallions’ plans. Will he be the third quarterback—inactive, but backing McGough and Morton up in case they suffer injuries? Or will he immediately supplant Morton as McGough’s backup? Or, in the wildest of scenarios, will he split time with McGough—or even beat him out for the starting job? It will likely take a few weeks for the dust to settle and for Sloter to learn the Stallions playbook, so it remains to be seen. But regardless of what happens, it will be a top storyline to follow this season.
What are your thoughts on Kyle Sloter joining the Birmingham Stallions? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.