Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Random Quasi-Coherent Thoughts

Longtime readers will know that I am a Vikings fan (apparently I was born with a predisposition for sports teams that like to crush your soul). So it goes without saying that I was wee bit excited yesterday. I mean as a Vikings fan I'm used to witnessing epic fails in playoff games, I'm just not used to it being the opposing team doing it. I'm sure you didn't come here for my thoughts on the Vikes but I just get so few chances to bask in their post-season success that I can't just pass this opportunity up.Unreal!

You've probably guessed by now that I have minimal Rider content to discuss so I'm adding in as much filler as possible to try and pass this off as a regular post. This is were I not so smoothly segue into Random Quasi-Coherent Thoughts (patent pending).

- Pretty quiet on the Rider front since the big Collaros acquisition. The only real notable thing that I have yet to comment on was the retirement of Chris Getzlaf. Obviously he had a huge impact on this franchise. But for me he will always be a mind boggling case study. He was twice a 1000 yard receiver, score 40 career TDs (including 10 in a single season). A very solid resume. The thing is he could have likely added another 30% to his stats if he had consistent hands. Unreal to think of what he accomplished in-spite of the drops that he made. On a more serious note he was a great route runner with a keen ability to get open and I wish him all the best in retirement. 

- I expect a few more signings to start filtering in over the coming weeks. With free agency approaching there will be some added pressure to finalize some deals that have been being worked on for a while.

- Hopefully that will include Duron Carter who reportedly turned down a couple NFL offers (that likely did not include much if any signing bonus). Chris Jones was going to meet with him and I'm hopeful they can work out a deal. I find it funny how one of the CFL's more controversial figures has been absolutely embraced by one of the most fickle of fan bases.

- One person not likely to be re-signed is DL Ese Mrabure... or Mr. Abure as I believe he prefers to be called. Not sure with who but Jones said that it looks like Mr Abure will sign down south. Tough to lose a versatile Canadian lineman like him.

- I love that the Als think that the answer to their QB situation is Josh Freeman. He may be a bit younger than Vince Young but I expect the result to be largely the same. The only difference is that the Als are terrible enough that Freeman may see the field. 

NFL Watch:
Brandon Zylstra (Edm) – signs with Minnesota
Elie Bouka (Ssk) – signs with Philadelphia
Shaq Richardson (Cal) – signs with Oakland
Kenny Ladler (Edm) – signs with Washington
Jonathan Mincy (Mtl) – signs with Chicago

CFL Ins and Outs

In: QB Zach Collaros (trade with Hamilton)
Out: QB Kevin Glenn, DB Elie Bouka (released), WR Chris Getzlaf (retired)

In: LS Pierre-Luc Caron (contract extension)
Out: DB Shaq Richardson (signed in NFL)

In: LS Mike Benson (contract extension)

In: DB Aaron Grymes, OL David Beard (contract extension)
Out: WR Brandon Zylstra (signed in NFL)

In: LB Ian Wild (contract extension)

In: QB Jeremiah Masoli, WR Brandon Banks, DB Jonathan Langa (contract extension) Akeem Haynes (free agent signing)
Out: QB Zach Collaros (trade with Saskatchewan)

In: OL Kendall Pace, LB Lamar Louis, LB Avery Williams, WR Richard Mullaney, DL Cliff Matthews (free agent signing)
Out: DB Nick Taylor (released)

In: QB James Franklin (signed), DL Cleyon Laing, WR Llevi Noel, OL DJ Sackey (contract extension)

In: RB Terrell Sutton (contract extension)
Out: DB Jonathan Mincy (signed in NFL)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Where To From Here?

Last week’s acquisition of Zach Collaros addressed the biggest area of need on the Riders’ roster headed in to 2018. But unfortunately for us the rest of the League won’t just roll over and let us ascend to the top (well, I mean Montreal might as this point, but the others won’t). While we are in a great starting point stability-wise, we still have some holes in our roster than we are going to need to address to build a strong enough supporting cast around Collaros to contend for top spot in the West.

There are still plenty of opportunities to address those areas of need: re-sign pending free agents, sign other teams’ free agents, the draft, free agent camps in the States. More trades are another possibility as well. Regardless of the method, here are the areas of need on the Rider roster (at least as of me writing this… the Riders have a habit of announcing roster moves immediately after I make off-season posts that render most of what I’ve just typed irrelevant.)

#1 – Defensive Line
Two issues here: quantity and quality. Quantity wise, even if you include Willie Jefferson (who Jones has essentially said will be back) we only have 5 D-linemen on the roster. I imagine we re-sign at least a couple of Steele, Henry, Mrabure and Leonard but still we need more linemen. But from a quality perspective we really need to give Jefferson a strong supporting cast. Guy is flat out one of the best D-ends in the League and that’s in spite of doing most of it on his own. Can you imagine how deadly he could be with a stronger line taking some of the attention off him? I’m a big James supporter but we should still be looking for DTs (both Canadian and imports) to strengthen the middle. There will be some big names potentially hitting free agency (Laurent, Laing Evans) and I fully expect us to draft a Canadian DL with one of our top picks. We also could use some upgrading a the other DE spot. I really like what Antigha showed in his rookie year but one more impact DE to rotate with him and Willie would be awesome.

#2 – Canadians
I know its early but at this point I honestly can’t tell you where our 6th and 7th starting Canadians will come from. Safety and MLB for sure and a min of 3 on offense (2 OL, 1 WR). Beyond that?? I’m assuming we maintain a starting Canadian DT (though we currently have 0 of them signed). That leaves either a 3rd Cdn OL or a 2nd Cdn Receiver as the 7th spot. I think we could easily play 3 interior Cdn OL but Bruce Campbell made a pretty good case to be brought back at left tackle. Assuming we re-sign one of Demski or Bailey we aren’t in a bad spot for starting 2 WRs but regardless more depth is needed there. Also the surprise departure of Bouka leaves a whole in terms of Cdn depth in the secondary.

#3 Impact Receiver
Could we get through a season with a Roosevelt/Grant/Owens/Holley combo? You bet. But if we really want our new start QB to light it up we should give him one more offensive weapon. Ideally we bring back Duron to fill that need but if for some reason we don’t we will need another stud to complement Roosevelt (please don’t read that as “another stud to compliment Roosevelt”). 

#4 Centre
As of right now Dan Clark remains unsigned… and regardless of whether we re-sign him (I assume we will) we should be looking for a new centre. Look I know hating on Dan Clark makes me un-patriotic around these parts but I call it like I see it. I don’t think he’s a bad person, just a bad starting lineman. Maybe Bladek can win the job? Either way we currently have a void a centre and even if we re-sign Clark he will still periodically leave a void at Centre.

#5 Cornerback
I’m still working under the assumption that Kacy Rodgers signs in the NFL (though no deal has been announced yet). You will also know that the next logical man up (Chris Lyles) I hate as much, if not more, than Dan Clark. The potential free agent market for DBs could be deepest in as long as I can remember. Calgary’s entire secondary, most of BC’s, a lot of Winnipeg’s could all potentially hit the free agent market. Basically a who’s who of top end DBs (sure glad we have our halfbacks locked up long-term). Now NFL signings and CFL re-signings will thin the market a bit prior to February. But if we were inclined to address this need via Free agency there are a ton of good options. Could also just find a new one. We found Rodgers, Butler and Cox (even though that didn’t work out).

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Zach Collaros is a Roughrider!

Wednesday the Riders made a big splash at the most important position by acquiring Zach Collaros from the Ti-Cats in exchange for a 2nd round pick (as I’m sure you’ve heard, it’s the pick we got from Montreal in the Durant deal). Regular readers will know that I have been raising this as a possibility ever since the reports that we had discussions about a mid-season trade. Regular readers will also not be surprised to hear that my reaction upon hearing the news that the trade was official was the Homer Simpson Whoop Whoop dance.

This is the biggest move the Riders have made at QB since acquiring Kerry Joseph in the dispersal draft. Over the ensuing 12 years our high profile moves at QB have included such rousing successes as:
·       “Marcus Crandell is the guy to lead us to a repeat”
·       “Steven Jyles, that’s our man”
·       Ryan “avoid direct eye contact or he will steal your soul” Dinwiddie
·       “Todd Reesing will save this franchise”
·       Kevin Glenn returns
·       “Tino Sunseri? What could go wrong?”
·        “That Jonathan Jennings guy will never amount to anything”
·       Kevin Glenn third time’s a charm
·       “Michael Vick? Do have plans for the next few months?”
·       Plus a list of additional attempts as Seth Doege, Brett Smith, Vince not-so-Young, that O-lineman disguised as a QB (Philip Sims), Bryant Moniz, Vad Lee, GJ Kinne, etc….
Thank god we stumbled upon Durant… almost inadvertently. Had Crandell not pulled a hammy and Jyles stunk up the joint in that BC game we may never have found what we had in him.

Anyway, to make an extremely roundabout point, after many years of repeated ineptitude at the most important position in football Collaros is a very, very big addition.

Before I get to what this trade means for the Riders in 2018 let me address a few misconceptions I’ve seen floated around out there.
1.     We are not going to pay him $520,000. We do not make this deal without a renegotiation of salary.
2.     There is no risk of him refusing to renegotiate and us releasing him. No one in the CFL is going to pay him $500K so even if he refused to negotiate with us he’ll be negotiating for less money with someone else… and it’s not like the prospect of playing for the Als can be very enticing. Also, we don’t make this deal unless we are sure we can agree on a new deal with him. While we would not go as far as direct tampering (because of course no one does that), let’s just say I’m certain that conversations have occurred that led us to believe there is a deal to be had with Collaros that will make both sides happy.
3.     It would not have been better to wait until he was cut. The 10th overall pick is a high price but Kent Austin said other teams were in discussions so it’s the price we had to pay to ensure we did not miss out.

Okay now to what this means for us.,,

First off don’t start staking out your spot on parade route just yet. This move improves our team but it’s not like we suddenly became the unquestioned super-power in the West. So temper the enthusiasm just a bit. That said I will not hold back that I am all in on the Collaros train. This is our guy and I am beyond pumped that we have him.

Why am I so high on him? Look at what he’s accomplished. Led his team to the Grey Cup in 2014 and damn near won. The following year was far and away the best player in the league prior to his injury. He threw 25 TDs in just 12 games and was on pace for 5000 yards and 38 TDs that year (38 would top 10 all time by the way). He returned from injury in 2016 and threw 18 TDs to 8 INTs over 13 games. Sure he went 3 and 10 but he had had no run support, a mediocre at best OL and the 3rd worst defense in the league so it wasn’t all on him. Much is made of his struggles last season and the fact that he failed to win even one game but again he had even less run support, was sacked/pressured more than any QB in the league and his defense was allowing an embarrassing 38 points per game. Did he struggle? You bet. But is there any reason to doubt that with a decent supporting cast he could return to his previous form? No!

Look this is a 29 year old QB… I repeat 29, who already has a Grey Cup appearance and MOP calibre season to his name. He also has a career ratio of 83 TDs to 38 INTs. Hell Kevin Glenn damn near threw that many picks in the East Final alone. What I like most about his game is that his strength is as a pocket passer. He’s not a running QB (though he can) and not at his best when improvising. He’s at his best, in the pocket reading defenses. What more do you want in a QB?

I look at it this way… behind our OL, with our offensive weapons, Old Man Glenn threw 25 TDs and we were the #3 offense. So if you assume that Collaros is only as good as Glenn then this should be a net neutral move at worst. But I would argue (and you would agree assuming you are not crazy) that Collaros has a much higher ceiling than Glenn. QB was one area where we were decidedly behind the rest of the West division and this is a huge step forward in that regard.

What does this mean for the other QBs on our roster (Glenn, Bridge, Adams, Williams… and apparently David Watford is still in the picture)?

Well for now we are in an enviable position of having a ton of great options. When you think back to the days of Brett Smith, Seth Doege and Tino Susneri (whose name still causes spontaneous shuddering when uttered), we are in a great spot. But the reality is that something has to give. That something is most certainly Glenn. We are clearly high on Bridge or we would have let him walk (but clearly we aren’t ready to just hand him the reigns without competition). So if Collaros is your guy (and he most assuredly is) and Bridge is good enough to be your #2 (and he is) then you have no need for Glenn. Many are speculating QB coach is an option but I don’t think he’s done playing. Besides he still needs to end up in Edmonton and stick around long enough for the Atlantic Schooners to acquire him. You should be able to get a 4th or 5th round pick for him and a proven vet back-up should be of interest to a few teams: Toronto, Edmonton (fingers crossed), maybe even Winnipeg or Calgary. I also wouldn’t completely rule out Vernon Adams being dealt. Ideally we keep him as the #3 but my guess is that he is making more $ than the other 2 so if you can get value for him and use Williams or Watford as your #3 you have to explore it.

To those lamenting that Bridge will not get his chance, I say boo hoo. If Bridge can beat out Collaros in camp then the job is still his (I just don’t see that happening). Besides Jones’ job is to give us the best chance to win. Having Collaros and Bridge gives us a way better chance to win than hinging the hopes of the 2018 season on Bridge becoming a stud or Glenn suddenly discovering how not to crap the bed in the playoffs.

I haven’t been this excited since… well I probably should not finish that sentence before confirming that you the reader are at least 18 years of age.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Welcome to 2018

If I know my readership (and there are only like 8.5 of you so I probably should) you are split between 1 of 2 groups as you read this. Group A is the “I was in bed early and am up feeling refreshed and reading this post as the sun rises. What a great start to the New Year!”. Group B is the “I feel like I was hit by a gravel truck and am reading this at some point in the evening or even days later. Someone please put me out of my misery”. Whichever group you are in I hope you had great holidays and wish you nothing but the best in the coming year (except those of you who cheer for other teams… I wish you the best in all non-football related matters).

Lots of Rider news to get caught up on as we start 2018 so whiskey up that coffee or beer up those cheerios and let’s get to it.

Contract extensions were the big news over the holidays. Pending FAs Bridge, Coleman and Johnson were extended (pause for childish giggle at “Johnson extended"). Also, Christion Jones and Crezdon Butler who were already under contract for 2018 were extended through 2019. All good news. I especially like locking down Jones and Butler long term. Jones’ ability to change a game in an instant is apparent to all. Butler was a very underrated DB last season. Him taking over the HB spot was a turning point for our pass defense. He stabilized that unit and showed great ability to make a sure tackle on attempted screens… not bad for a guy who began his tenure by bouncing off the uprights. In the bigger picture these signings all mean one important thing: stability. We already have 17 of our 24 starters from the east final under contract for next season. 

The other good thing all these deals mean is that we have extra room in the 2017 salary cap to spend on extensions.  Probably not a ton but every little bit helps. Now that the 2018 league year has officially started expect more re-signings to be announced.

In less positive news, it appears we will be in search of a new short-side CB for 2018. Kacy Rogers has already had 5 NFL tryouts and not-so cryptically tweeted that in a matter of days his life will never be the same. Safe to say that he will be signing an NFL deal, likely very soon. Good for him, certainly a loss for us (though returning 4 out of 5 in your secondary is pretty darn good). I pray that we find someone not named Chris Lyles to fill that spot (unless he suddenly figured out how to actually cover a receiver this offseason).

The last big story to touch on is sadly Johnny Manziel. Dude hasn’t even signed in the CFL and I’m already sick of hearing about him. But he will be signing in the CFL it’s just a matter of when and where. I sincerely doubt the CLF/Ti-Cats make this big a deal about the ongoing saga of his ability to play in the CFL unless he was actually coming here… it’s called publicity. All signs point to him going to Hamilton (thank god) but lingering in the back of my mind is that workout… err I mean totally unrelated meeting with his publicist that we did. Could Johnny Football revitalize his career in the CFL? Sure, its possible. But it’s also possible that a tour bus of bikini clad models breaks down in front of my house and need a place to sleep but possibility is not probability.

In the coming weeks I will break down our pending free agents, look ahead to who might be on our radar come February as well as blatant filler to get us through the long offseason. I may even open up the Prophet mail bag. So if you have a question you’d like me to weigh in on, send it my way. How will we do in 2018? Who may be a surprise starter or surprise cut? Don’t you hate pants? Which restaurant chains do you hate the least? No topic is off limits.

NFL Watch:
Kacy Rodgers (Ssk) – works out for New England, Arizona, Buffalo
Ese Mrabure (Ssk) – works out for Tampa Bay
Jonathan Mincy (Mtl) – works out for New England, Cleveland, Arizona, Chicago, Buffalo, Oakland
Chandler Fenner (BC) – works out for New England
Ciante Evans (Cal) – works out for Chicago
Ja’Gared Davis (Cal) – works out for Philadelphia
Kenny Ladler (Edm) – works out for Philadelphia, Cleveland
TJ Lee (BC) – works out for Cleveland
Brandon Zylstra (Edm) – works out for Detroit, Arizona, Indianapolis
Euclid Cummings (Edm) – works out for San Francisco
Diontae Spencer (Ott) – works out for New Orleans
Shaq Richardson (Cal) – works out for San Francisco, Oakland
Jonathan Rose (Ott) – works out for Kansas City, Buffalo
DaVaris Daniels (Cal) – works out for Buffalo

CFL Ins and Outs

In: QB Brandon Bridge, OL Thaddeus Coleman, DB Jovon Johnson, KR Christion Jones, DB Crezdon Butler (contract extension), WR Mitch Picton, LB Alexandre Gagne, LB Alexandre Chevrier (re-signed), OL Danny Sprukulis (2017 draft pick signing)

In: OL Cody Husband (contract extension)

In: WR Kamar Jorden, WR Lemar Durant, DB Brandon Smith, OL Brad Erdos, OL Randy Richards (contract extension)

In: WR Weston Dressler, OL Manase Foketi, DL Drake Nevis (contract extension) DB Travis Howard, DB Sam Brown, DL Daniel Awoleke (free agent signing)

In: OL Brandon Revenberg (contract extension)

In: RB Declan Cross (contract extension)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Let’s Talk Quarterbacks

The QB landscape in the CFL has potential to be shook up this offseason to an extent not seen in many years. Free agents like Franklin, Masoli, Harris, Lulay and Bridge; potential retirements like Ray; potential cuts like Collaros and Durant; not to mention potential new entrants like Johnny Manziel. Change is coming and the first dominoes have already fallen with Harris re-signing and Franklin being traded to Toronto. So let’s take a look at where things are at today and what that is likely to mean for the Riders.

The Franklin trade is the biggest domino as he was the biggest fish this offseason. While there is still no guarantees as he is still potentially a free agent come February, let me break it down like this: Franklin knows he’s getting paid this offseason, it’s just a matter of who is signing the cheque. So he will only sign in Toronto if he gets starter’s money (otherwise he will just wait until someone else gives it to him). Money is more important than playing time so in theory if Toronto could pay him starters $ and retain Ray it would be workable. The only way I can see that working cap-wise is if both Franklin and Ray take a low base pay with heavy incentive based on playing time but I can’t see Franklin agreeing to that. So this is where my logic kicks in (scary territory I know). Toronto would not have given up a highly rated young Canadian OL unless they were very sure they could sign Franklin. That means they are willing to pay him the big $. That means they do not expect Ray back. No guarantees but as a betting man, my money is on Ray retiring and Franklin leading the Argos in ’18. Sorry to break your hearts Rider fans.

So given that the long assumed saviour of the franchise is off the market where does that leave the Riders? I see essentially 2 options: stand pat or add one more to the mix.

Stand Pat
Glenn, Adams and Williams remain under contract and the odds of Bridge returning are highly probable. Montreal is likely his only other option and there may be just a bit of ill-will there (plus the whole Kavis Reed dumpster fire thing). So option A is bring everyone back and have an open competition. The only way I see this scenario working is if one of the young guys wins the starting job. Glenn had an admirable year but at some point I think we need to admit that the odds of him leading a team to a championship are pretty slim. I’d take him as an insurance policy/back-up… though if history has taught us if he’s the back-up, misfortune is guaranteed to befall the starter. Bridge showed a ton of potential but still has some big flaws in his game. Adams is a highly thought of player but all we really know at this point is that he can execute poorly designed and blatantly obvious QB runs.

The biggest advantage of this approach is salary. Not having to shell out big bucks on QB allows us to build strength in other arears of the roster. We managed the second most offensive TDs with this combo last season so while its not the flashiest approach, it is workable.

Add one more
Assuming we are not satisfied with our current group (and I don’t think Jones is ever fully satisfied) there are some options to explore. I list them in order of both likely and value to the team:

1 – Zach Collaros
He’s currently under contract but given that he’s reportedly making over $500k and not the starter it’s only a matter of time before he’s cut or traded. Any trade would need to be contingent on renegotiating his salary. In 2015 he was hands down the best player in the CFL. While he’s certainly not looked anywhere close to that form since returning from injury, I’m convinced that a fresh start with a good support cast will revitalize his career. You could likely land him at an affordable incentive laden deal (essentially swap him for Glenn). There’s risk but the upside is higher than anyone else available. We apparently made inquiries about a trade mid-season so we are at least somewhat interested.

2 - Jeremiah Masoli
I can't see him leaving Hamilton after how well things went went June Jones took over. But he is technically a pending FA and he has all the tools (strong arm, great runner, that "it" factor at times). He's still very inconsistent but grew by leaps and bounds this season. Highly unlikely but you never know.

3 – Travis Lulay
He'll be coming off major injury and already has a ton of wear and tear on him but he proved last season that he's not dead yet. I don't see him leaving BC and I don't us being super interested... but he's technically an option. Though one that certainly isn't a step in the right direction age-wise.

4 – Johnny Football
Please no!  If the football gods have any mercy they will spare us this carnival circus. Hamilton owns his neg rights and June Jones has been kissing his ass as much as one can without physical contact so hopefully there's nothing to worry about here. But we totally didn't secretly work him out and only met with his publicist so sadly there is some interest there.

5 -  The rest: Durant, Willy, LeFevour
Hahaha, nope.

So assessing everything I think the most likely scenario is either Collaros or our current guys with an edge to the current guys. Jones has brought stability and long term viability to almost very aspect of this team... except QB, so this is a big decision. Personally I want Collaros but Jones tends not to ask my opinion in these matters.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Round-Up: Busy Week

Typically you can count on a couple lulls in the CFL year. One is the March-April period and one is in the post Grey Cup until the New Year period. Well apparently 2017 did not get that memo. This past week was a whirlwind of activity on all fronts. From team sales, to big trades, to coaching searches, to the schedule coming out, this week had pretty much everything under the sun except somebody facing criminal charges (man I hope I didn’t just jinx things). So let me try my best to get you caught up:

Chris Jones Extends
Given how the season played out it was little surprise to anyone that the Riders and Jones agreed on a one year extension that runs through 2019. The same fans that not that long ago were calling for his head are now rejoicing at this news (typical day in Riderville). While he had a pretty rocky and at times borderline crazy start, our patience with Jones had been rewarded as he has taken a last place team, blow it up and rebuilt them to contender status in 2 years. More importantly he has built a strong core of this team that should keep us contending going forward. This bigger news for me was that Jeremy O’Day, John Murphy and Mike Davis (who in the spirit of full disclosure I had to google who he is and what he does) also signed extensions keeping them with the Riders through 2019. Murphy had been speculated as a potential GM candidate in Montreal. This gives us much needed stability at a time when our recruiting efforts are finally starting to bear fruit. At this point last year I was gravely concerned as we had essentially Holley and Eguavoen to show despite scouting half of continental the US in means both legal and not so legal. Now guys like Jones, Butler, Moncrief, Antigha and James are playing prominent roles. The future looks bright… well technically it’s a whole lot of black on a count of Jones but you get my point.

Jackson Departs
We are now in search of a new QB coach as Jarious Jackson is moving to BC to be their OC. It’s certainly a loss for us particularly at a time when we will hopefully be moving forward with a young QB. It’s also the first big departure from Jones’ core coaching group which has been together since Edmonton.

NFL Interest
I have a full list of NFL workouts below but a few have some Rider implications. Duron, Kacy Rogers and Jeff Knox drawing interest is not a huge surprise. AC Leonard and Nic Demski are a bit more of a surprise (by the way despite a decent year I’m still not completely letting go of my Leonard hatred). The name that did surprise me was Brandon Bridge. At this point I’m not putting too much stock in it because its with the Giants who historically invite half the CFL draft class to minicamp but sign next to no one (Brett Jones is the only exception I can think of and he’s an exception to a lot of things)

Two plus years of anticipation came to halt this week as James Franklin was traded to Toronto… not here has had been assumed since Jones took over. It was the first major domino in a complicated QB web this offseason. I’ll have a full breakdown of the implications of this on Monday but to those of you still clinging vainly to the hope that Franklin doesn’t sign in Toronto, let me just say this for now. Toronto doesn’t give up a Canadian OL they just spent the #10 pick on if they aren’t damn sure they can secure Franklin. I honestly did not think we would be getting Franklin anyway. I bet we were interested but we didn’t seem to be in a “get him at all costs” mode where other teams are.

Coaching Carousel
The Alouettes coaching search is all kinds of fantastic (at least for non-Alouette fans). The 2 leading candidates (DeVone Claybrooks and Mark Washington) have both withdrawn from consideration (in other they wisely surmised they want no part of the Kavis Reed dumpster fire). That leaves such quality candidates as Gary Crowrton (to which Bomber fans in particular respond with a HAHAHAHAHA), Marcel Bellefeuille (to which I respond HAHAHAHA) and Kerwin Bell (and if that name doesn’t immediately make you laugh please search him on Youtube… go on, I’ll wait. Now its your turn to go HAHAHA). By virtue of the 2 greatest words in the English language: de fault, someone will get this job. Its not looking for the Als though.

June Jones returns the Ti-Cats. He also made some great comments about the potential of Johnny Manziel in the CFL… and by great I mean somewhere between outright lies and drug induced nonsense.

Esks DL Coach Casey Creehan left to become the new coach at Lyon College

BC let go OC Khari Jones, STC Marcello Simmons, DL coach Robin Ross, WR coach Marcel Bellefeuille (I’d forgot Bellefeuille was in BC but I assure you their offensive sucktitude and his presence can’t be a complete coincidence). Khari Jones is an intriguing name for a team suddenly in need of a QB coach.

NFL Watch:
Brandon Zylstra (Edm) – Works out for NY Jets, Minnesota, Detroit, Indy, Arizona
Roy Finch (Cal) – works out for Buffalo and NY Jets
Stefan Charles (Edm – draft pick) – works out for Green Bay
Craig Roh (BC) – works out for Minnesota, Chicago
Kacy Rodgers (Ssk) – works out for Minnesota, NY Jets
Jonathan Mincy (Mtl) – works out for Minnesota, Cincinnati, NY Jets (expected to work out for 12 teams)
Derel Walker (Edm) – works out for Minnesota
Nic Demski (Ssk) – works out for NY Giants
Louchiez Purifoy (BC) – works out for Cincinnati
Ronnie Yell (BC) – works out for Chicago
Brandon Bridge (Ssk) – works out for NY Giants
Duron Carter (Ssk) – works out for Arizona
Chris Ackie (Mtl) – works out for NY Jets
Gary Peters (Edm) – works out for NY Jets
Kenny Ladler (Edm) – works out for NY Jets, Cincinnati
AC Leonard (Ssk) – works out for Cincinnati
Diontae Spencer (Ott) - works out for Cincinnati
Jonathan Rose (Ott) – works out for NY Jets
DaVaris Daniels (Cal) – works out for NY Jets
Jeff Knox (Ssk) – works out for NY Jets
Tevaughn Smith (Edm draft pick) – works out for NY Jets
Shaq Richardson (Cal) – works out for NY Jets

CFL Ins and Outs

Out: LB Beau Landry, DL Zach Minter, LB Cameron Ontko (released)
Landry and Ontko were midseason injury replacements only. Minter had his season cut short but was very underwhelming in the time he did play.

In: DL Derek Wiggan, FB William Langlais (contract extension)

In: DL Gabe Knapton (trade with Montreal)
Out: WR Chris Williams (trade with BC)

In: K Sean Whyte, RB CJ Gable, OL Colin Kelly (contract extension), OL Mason Woods (trade with Toronto), QB Eli Jenkins (free agent signing)
Out: QB James Franklin (trade with Toronto)

In: OL Stanley Bryant (contract extension), OL Cody Speller, DB Abu Conteh, WR Brendon Thera-Plamondon (free agent signings)

In: OL Everton Williams, OL Braden Schram, OL Kay Okafor, WR Jacob Scarfone, DL Jake McEwen, DL Ryan Muller, QB Dane Evans, RB Storm Johnson, RB Rajion Neal, LB Lucas Wacha, LB DJ May (free agent signings)

In: QB Trevor Harris, FB Brandon Gillanders, LB Jean-Phillipe Bolduc (contract extension)

In: QB James Franklin (trade with Edmonton)
Out: OL Mason Woods (trade with Edmonton)

In: WR Chris Williams (trade with BC), DB Mikael Charland (contract extension)
Out: DL Gabe Knapton (trade with BC)