Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thoughts on Free Agency

What was supposed to be a relatively quiet Free Agency year for the Riders has been anything but. It's been a roller coaster ride of Duron-type highs and whatever the opposite of Duron-type highs would be (Alouettes in the standings-type lows?  My interest in the Johnny Manziel drama-type low?).

Here's a play by play of commentary on free agency
- Signed Dan Clark: alright decent start, not the greatest but we need OL depth
- Signed Spencer Moore: Great! Solid FB and special teams player
- Cut Dennis and Love: What the ?
- Signed Evans: Hell Yeah!!!!!! Love it! Back on board.
- Signed Travis Bond: Makes sense. All headed in the right direction
- Signed Jerome Messam: Umm wait.. I'm confused. We seem to have taken a wrong turn
- Cut Muamba: What the hell is going on? We're going off the rails on a crazy train (Ay, Ay, Ay)

What started our so great is suddenly heading in a concerning direction.

I was surprised to see Dennis go but as soon as we signed Evans I got it and was fully on board. We dumped an American starter to make room for a stud Canadian DT. As a I said on Twitter we essentially traded Dennis for Evans and you make that trade any day. The whole Regina connection is certainly a feel good story, as is the part about finally righting the wrong of Taman stupidly not protecting him back in the expansion draft but what I care about is getting a 27 year old Cdn DT with 18 sacks in the past three season. We needed an impact guy in the middle and another Cdn starter and Evans checks both those boxes. We now have a line with Hughes/Evans/James/Jefferson. That is an intimidating rush. This was a hugely unexpected but awesome move. Yes it leaves a whole at LT but we have Bond and are working on Bruce Campbell so we should be okay there.

As for the whole Messam/Muamba thing... I will reserve full judgement until all the pieces fall into place as there may be other moves coming that are part of a larger plan that make everything make sense but for now I do not like it. Messam will be 33 this season and his yards per carry have decreased steadily over the past 3 seasons. He's still a force but is clearly on the downside of his career. We have 3 RBs (albeit imports) and no pressing need there so I really can't understand the desire to spend $120k on Messam. Seems like a poor investment. I don't think he can be a fulltime back for a full season anymore so at best you have a rotational RB (say 60/40 split) who you hope to have healthy for the stretch run. So I did not like the Messam deal from the start.

When the other shoe dropped and we cut Henoc Muamba for salary reasons, I was completely lost. Did we use up all our logic in the Evans deal? Look it get it, in a salary cap $200k is a lot to pay for a non-QB. But Muamba was not only a starting Cdn but a STUD  middle linebacker. Those don't grow on trees. There are many players I would have cut before Muamba is salary savings were needed. For example, cutting Chad Owens and Jerome Messam would completely pay for Muamba. Now given the choice between Muamba and Messam/Owens which one do you think would have a bigger impact on our performance in 2018? I really don't like this.

There is still a chance this could all work out. Guys like Bear Woods and Taylor Reed are still available and if we get a decent American LB then this could look not as awful. I just hope Plan A wasn't Sam Hurl because that is a massive downgrade to our defense. Still lots of time to build a defense but after taking a step forward with Evans I see this as a big step back.

Hopefully there is more to come to calm my worry.

Day 2 Free Agency Summary

Extended: n/a
Added: OL Travis Bond, LB Sam Hurl
Lost: LB Henoc Muamba

Extended: LB Solomon Elimimian
Added: WR Cory Watson
Lost: n/a

Extended: RB John White, LB Doug Parrish, WR Jamil Smith
Added: n/a
Lost: WR Cory Watson, K Swayze Waters, DB Andrew Lue

Extended: n/a
Added: WR Mitchell Baines
Lost: WR Julian Feoli-Gudino, OL Travis Bond, LB Sam Hurl, DB TJ Heath, DL Jamal Westerman

Extended: n/a
Added: DB TJ Heath, K Swayze Waters
Lost: DB Rico Murray

Extended: LB Tanner Doll
Added: WR Julian Feoli-Gudino, DB Rico Murray
Lost: WR Jake Harty

Extended: QB Drew Willy
Added: WR Jake Harty, DL Jamal Westerman
Lost: n/a


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

CFL Free Agency Day 1 Summary

Here's a summary of all that went on for each team on a busy Day 1. I expect a few more moves on Day 2 so I will hold off and provide full analysis of the Rider moves on Thursday (Spoiler alert: I'm pretty pumped about the Zach Evans thing!).

PS - It's Valentine's Day, if you haven't already gotten a gift now would be a good time to fake a severe stomach flu. 

Extended: OL Dan Clark, FB Spencer Moore
Added: DL Zach Evans, RB Jerome Messam
Lost: DL AC Leonard, WR Nic Demksi, LB Glenn Love, OL Derrick Dennis, DL Antonio Longino, DL Ese Mrabure

Extended: QB Travis Lulay
Added: DL Euclid Cummings, OL Joel Figueroa, OL Jeremy Lewis, DB Gary Peters, DB Cauchy Muamba, DB Dominique Termansen, LB Mitch Barnett, DB AJ Jefferson, OL Chris Greaves
Lost: DL Alex Bazzie, DB Louchiez Purifoy, DB Chandler Fenner,

Extended: DB Forest Hightower, DB Johnny Adams
Added: DL Alex Bazzie
Lost: DL Euclid Cummings, OL Joel Figueroa

Extended: WR Da’Varis Daniels, RB Roy Finch, WR Anthony Parker, LB Deron Mayo
Added: DB Emmanuel Davis, DB Adam Berger, Ese Mrabure
Lost: RB Jerome Messam, DB Tommie Campbell, DB Joe Burnett

Extended: DB Kevin Fogg
Added: WR Nic Demski, DB Chandler Fenner, RB Kienan LaFrance
Lost: LB Sam Hurl

Extended: DB Cassius Vaughn, DB Jermaine Gabriel, DB Johnny Sears
Added: n/a
Lost: K Lirim Hajrullahu, DB Mitchell White

Extended: DL Ted Laurent, WR Luke Tasker, LB Larry Dean, LB Nic Shortill
Added: K Lirim Hajrullahu
Lost: LB Mitch Barnett, DB Dominique Ellis

Extended: DB Jonathan Rose
Added: DL AC Leonard, DB Louchiez Purifoy, QB Dominique Davis
Lost: QB Drew Tate, DB Adam Berger, DL Zach Evans

Extended: OL Matt Vonk, OL Xavier Fulton, WR SJ Haidara, K Boris Bede, DB Tevaughn Campbell
Added: DB Tommie Campbell, DB Joe Burnett, DB Mitchell White, DB Dominique Elis
Lost: OL Jeremy Lewis, DB Dominique Termansen, OL Chris Greaves

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Free Agency Primer

While tampering has been going on behind the scenes for week, free agency officially opens tomorrow at 11. Barring any ridiculous Ed Hervey/Odell Willis scenarios we will have to wait at least 20 minutes after that for any deals to be announced.

I've said all along that the Riders won't be very active this year (particularly as compared to the first 2 years of the Jones regime). But not very active is not the same as idle.  We have some needs to be filled and some player hitting the market could potentially fill those. (Somewhere in there is a joke about big football players filling holes but it's too early on a Monday for me to put in the effort needed to find it). 

So let's take a look at what Jones is likely to be targeting tomorrow.

#1 - Big Canadian Men In The Middle
We need a centre and a Cdn defensive tackle. As a sign of how thin the OL market is this year, Dan Clark is legitimately one the best free agents out there. After him there are some depth/back-up guys that we may look at to add to the competition is camp. Names like Matt Albright, Cameron Thorn or Danny Groulx.

On the defensive side, obviously in a perfect world we would be going hard after Laurent or Evans but unless either is willing to take a portion of their salary in perogies and cabbage rolls (not the worst deal for a linemen), they are likely out of our price range. So in light of that our preference is likely to retain Mrabure (if he's not actually NFL bound) or Steele. We may need to also look at more unproven/depth options such as Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, Daryl Waud or Michael Klassen.

#2 - Canadians
We only have 6 of our 7 starting Canadian spot set (3 OL, 1 WR, 1 LB, 1 S).  I think the plan is a Canadian DT like last year but a second less likely option is a 2nd Cdn WR. Either options requires the addition of some players. Generally speaking (with the exception of LB) our Cdn depth at all positions could use reinforcements. The bulk of that will have to come from the draft but there may be a couple under the radar guys out there to stock the shelves. In addition to what's been mentioned above names like Jake Harty, CO Prime are ones to watch.

#3 - Depth
The good news is that we have the depth to withstand the loss of guys like Jeff Knox, Kacy Rodgers, Elie Bouka and potentially/likely Nic Demski, Otha Foster. But now it means the shelves need to be restocked. Recruiting will likely provide the bulk of that but with a star studed class of DB free agents and a few top end LBs, the chance that some more affordable options fall to us us greater.

Other random thoughts:
- If the price is right I would not be opposed to looking into the possibility of swapping Marquay McDaniel for Bakari Grant. 
- Unless the contract is crazy cheap, I don't see Jerome Messam coming here.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday Thoughts: Stay or Go

I originally had this typed up and ready to go for Monday but then all hell broke loose on Friday with trades, pot charges and allegations or marital infidelity. Okay maybe I made that last one up (but I probably had you briefly wondering what you had missed and who was in trouble) but the point remains that Friday was crazy and so this post got bumped in favour of more pressing commentary. I’ve since had to edit it a couple times (and likely within 5 mins of posting something will happen that renders more of this irrelevant) but here but goes anyway.

I wanted to take a look at our remain unsigned pending free agents to see which we should be making a final push for and who may or may not end up back in 2018.

WR Nic Demski–I heading into the offseason I felt like we needed to retain at least one of Demksi and Bailey. Obviously my preference would be for the more versatile/dynamic Demski. But of the 2 he is likely to command the most money on the open market and we are not a team with the liberty of offering many big pay days. Now that Bailey is secured, I’m even more skeptical that Demksi will be back. I certainly want him back and would guess the Riders do too but my gut says Demski gets more money from another team.

DL Ese Mrabure – We would gladly take him back given his passport and versatility along the D-line but Coach Jones said he’s likely to get a chance down south. So he’s either NFL bound (and I can’t see Jones saying that unless it was highly likely) or back here if that falls through.

DL Eddie Steele – Ratio-wise, its highly likely we need to start a Canadian on the D-line. We currently have 0 under contract and it sounds like Mrabure is gone. I’d love to say we are going to pony up the cash to land a Ted Laurent or Zach Evans but I don’t see that happening. That leaves very few options if we intend on starting a Canadian. Almost by default I would think bringing Steele back is a priority. I would rate him as adequate but not great. In the absence of better alternatives that will have to do. And quite frankly with Hughes and Jefferson working alongside him and a hopefully big year for Nick James, adequate may just be enough.

LB Otha Foster – Foster and Jones have been together dating back to Edmonton. Foster plays the very difficult cover LB spot and can fill in at HB. Bottom line is he’s talented, valuable and loved by the coach. There’s only one issue… Derrick Moncrief. Moncrief established himself as a viable starter in his rookie season at Foster’s spot and I think his ceiling in year 2 is even higher. With Moncrief able to fill that spot, likely for League minimum, there’s not a huge need for us to pay a lot more for Foster. If he will agree to a discounted salary we’d gladly keep him but with Calgary and Edmonton both in need of a new cover LB, I bet there will be money out there for Foster’s taking.

OL Dan Clark – I have a love for Clark much like how some people love changing diapers or repeatedly hitting themselves in the head with a frying pan. That said, it may surprise you to hear that I would recommend we re-sign Clark (I’ll pause here for your shocked gasp). I have no desire to see him starting but the fact remains we don’t exactly have a ton of OL depth or a viable alternative Centre so for purely insurance reasons I’d keep him. Honestly Clark’s calling in life is to the 6th OL and if we could build sufficient talent along the OL to make that a reality, what a wonderful world it would be. Clark could go back to scoring TDs and I could go back to not repeatedly cursing his name. Everyone wins.

K Quinn van Gyslwyk – He has no reason to re-sign here and we have no reason to try very hard to keep him.  Over the past 2 season we’ve needed him for 2 games and 3 kicks (2 of which he missed). I think he could be a solid kicker given the opportunity but with both Crapigna and Bartel locked up here for 2 more years his place ain’t here. I wish we would have traded him prior to this point to at least get some return on him.

FB Spencer Moore – An underrated “glue” guy that I would love to have back. He’s a decent blocker, can catch when called on and plays well on special teams (15 tackles last season). We also currently have zero fullbacks under contract. I hope we can retain him.

DL AC Leonard – I have made no secret that I’m not a big Leonard fan. I will admit he produced more than I expected he would last season but with Hughes on the team and Antigha emerging as a strong rookie last season, the time may be right to move on from Leonard. Thing is Coach Jones would disagree with me here and my vote tends not to count. Jones has been grooming him since he was a Tight End curiously hand-picked to play DE. I would be surprised to see Leonard anywhere else in the CFL than here… but I guess that really depends on if another team also shares the view that Leonard is a DE and is willing to pay him accordingly.

RB Greg Morris – There is a lot to like about Greg Morris. He is a Canadian that can back up both RB and kick return. He has been productive in limited opportunities to touch the ball. If it weren’t for the fact that he has a case of the butterfingers he could be making a lot more money. I would love to have him back but with us clearly going American at RB and Christion Jones as returner I’m not sure that there is a spot for him. A utility back-up Canadian is never a bad thing and now that LaFrance is gone it may open up room for Morris.

OL Bruce Campbell – From a purely talent standpoint I think we would want Campbell back. Complicating matters though are his 2 game suspension and the fact that we want to start 3 Canadian OL. I could see us holding off and if he’s still available mid-season, bringing him in as depth/injury replacement.

DL Makana Henry – Doesn’t appear on the Free Agency list but by my records show his deal is up. Normally you would side with the large organization that has the official records over the internet blogger with questionable grammatical skills but the CFL doesn’t exactly have a pristine record when it comes to record keeping. Either way, given that Jones gave Henry an opportunity to play when it appeared his football career was long over, I see Henry back in Green and White in 2018 providing Canadian DL depth.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Making Sense of a Wild Friday

The normally quiet CFL offseason got knocked over and sent flying as more news hit Friday then in all the combined trade deadlines that I can recall. Friday had everything, drugs, non-retirements, the cops, big name trades, big name double trades and contractually binding fruit emojis. So let's get right to it and try to make sense of it all.

The day started when news broke that Duron was charged with pot possession at the Saskatoon airport. I can't begin to fathom why taking weed to the airport seemed like a good idea but it's not like anyone is surprised that Duron is an enthusiast of the Green in Green and White, and its also not surprising that he would have a lapse in judgement.  Apparently he also was charged in Winnipeg back in November (just further evidence that nothing good happens in Winnipeg). I'm actually amazed the November charge stayed quiet for this long. If a Rider farted in public it would be front page news in this province. Now most people (myself included) could care less if Duron takes a puff now and then (next to working out, weed may be the second biggest past-time in the CFL). But with 2 charges (and one of them at the airport), it likely means we have to do something. Maybe a fine, hopefully not a suspension, maybe we'll just relegate him to CB again. The bottom line is we need to get Duron a fall guy. Dan Clark, you are officially in charge of carrying Duron's luggage.

The more positive Rider news is that a couple trades led to us acquiring Charleston Hughes. Charleston Hughes as in the perennial all-star D-end. As in only once in the past 6 seasons has he had less than 10 sacks. As in, everyone who plays opposite of him has career years. At 34 his age is somewhat of a concern but he had 11 sacks in 14 games last season so clearly he's got something left in the tank. He is a huge boost to a team that struggled to to find a D-lineman that could take some of the pressure off Jefferson. With all intended disrespect to AC Leonard we have replaced a converted TE with one of the past pass rushers of the past decade. This is huge! Him and Jefferson should be fun to watch. It also means that we no longer have to defend against him as he always seems to have big games against us.

The cost for Hughes was Vernon Adams and it essentially boiled down to money. Collaros and Bridge are entrenched as 1 and 2 so at best Adams was going to be the #3. He was making decent money for a #3 with no real chance at starting anytime soon. So while he has potential, in shipping him off we save a bit of $ and give Marquise Williams a shot to be the new "comes in randomly to execute a super obvious QB run play" guy.

Other Rider news included Willie Jefferson finally OFFICIALLY re-signing. There was a report back before the new year that a deal was agreed to and Jones repeatedly said he expected Jefferson to be back but the delay in it becoming official had some people worried. Not me though. I was always confident, particularly this weekend when Jefferson tweeted out a Watermelon emoji. I'm not a internet law expect but I'm fairly certain fruit emojis are contractually binding. Jefferson is far and away our best defender and keeping him here is super important. We also released Kacy Rogers to sign in the NFL (widely expected for a while now, at least by me) and Erik Dargan to not sign in the NFL (not widely expected but not a big loss). We also released Kienan LaFrance which was hardly surprising. We signed him to a $110K contract to be a starting Cdn RB. He lost the job to Marshall/Richardson/Thigpen. He's a decent guy to have around but was making too much $ for his role.

In addition to Charleston Hughes getting flipped to Hamilton then us, another high profile D-end was shipped east only to be sent back West quickly. Odell Willis, the mayor of Swaggerville, turkey gobble enthusiast and part time kickoff guy was sent to Ottawa before being flipped to BC. I get why Edmonton dumped Odell for a younger, cheaper promising prospect. I get why BC wanted to upgrade their D-line. I don't get what Ottawa got out of the deal. Other than to stamp Willis' CFL passport which now has 6 teams checked off... Kevin Glenn, here he comes.

NFL Watch:
Micah Awe (BC) – Signed with NY Jets
Jeff Knox (Ssk) – Will soon sign
DeVier Posey (Tor) – Signed with Baltimore
Kacy Rogers (Ssk) – Will soon sign
Luke Tasker (Ham) – workout with NY Jets

CFL Ins and Outs

In: DL Willie Jefferson (contract extension), DL Charleston Hughes (trade)
Out: LB Jeff Knox (signed in NFL), RB Kienan LaFrance, RB Shakir Bell, LB Erik Dargan (released), QB Vernon Adams (trade with Ham)

In: DL Ja’Gared Davis (contract extension)
Out: DB Josh Bell (retired to become a coach), OL Dan Federkeil (retired)

In: OL Hunter Steward (contract extension), DL Odell Willis (trade), WR Jenson Stoshak, WR Robert Wheelwright, WR Mitchell Hillis (free agent signing)
Out: LB Micah Awe (released to sign in the NFL)

In: WR Kenny Stafford (contract extension), DL Jake Ceresna (trade with Ott) DB Ahmad Dixon (free agent signing)
Out: DL Odell Willis (trade)

In: DB Anthony Gaitor (free agent signing)
Out: QB Dominique Davis (released)

In: DB Demond Washington, DL Justin Capicciotti (contract extension)
Out: DB Emmanuel Davis (released)

In: WR Noel Thomas (free agent signing), FB Jean-Christophe Beaulieu (trade with Mtl)
Out: FB Patrick Lavoie (trade with Mtl), DL Jake Ceresna (trade with Edm)

In: QB Ricky Ray (contract extension)

In: FB Patrick Lavoie (trade with Ott)
Out: FB Jean-Christophe Beaulieu (trade with Ott), LB Frederic Plesius (released)


Monday, January 29, 2018

Mondat Morning Sentimonies: Free Agency Window Shopping

Free agency opens on Feb 13th but anyone expecting the flurry of signings we have become used to since Coach Jones arrived will be quite disappointed. Two reasons I say that. 1 – Unlike previous years, we don’t have a ton of glaring needs. We aren’t in rebuild mode. 2 – Even if we wanted to be super active, I don’t think we have the cap space to do so. Collaros and Bridge’s deal means our costs at QB have gone up. Duron got some more money. Guys like Jones and Butler got new deals, presumably for more than the league min they likely made last year.  And we haven’t really shed any significant salary. I mean guys like Clark, Mrabure, Steele and Demski remain unsigned and I don’t really expect Brouillette back so there’s some stuff. But overall our outstanding needs will need to be met through scouting, drafting and possibly a couple not-flashy/depth-type free agents.

So rather than the traditional look at who the Riders will be targeting in free agency I decided to take a bit of a different approach this year. I went through each team and picked one player that I would be targeting if money was not an issue (i.e. a Pipe Dream) and one player that is more realistically someone we could land.

BC Lions
Pipe Dream: Most people would immediately look to Alex Bazzie and Craig Roh given our need for another pass rusher to pair with Jefferson. But I see them as a Lemon/Cappicciotti type-scenario where they wouldn’t fit with how Jones uses he D-ends. They guy I would be after is Chandler Fenner. He notched over 100 total tackles and played pretty solid as SAM LB. Given the offseason departure of Shaq Richardson and Kenny Ladler to the NFL and Mo Leggett still recovering, Fenner will be very in demand.

Potential Target: Kirby Fabien. He’ll likely be a bit on the pricey side but Cdn OL depth is always something to be looking for especially an established starter at RG who is only 27. We’d probably have to dump Dyakowski to make it happen though.

Pipe Dream: Honestly as a young Canadian starter, Adam Konar would top my list but in terms of need, LB is not something I see us needing (though some of that hinges on whether Cameron Judge is just weird but will still play football or is actually done with it. Did we ever get clarity on that whole thing?). So from a needs perspective Euclid Cummings is the primary target. He can be the disruptive force we need on the inside of the DL. 

Potential Target: Danny Groulx. The 7th overall pick in 2015 has yet to establish himself as a fulltime starter on the OL. Not sure what his value will be on the open market but there is potential value if a team can get him playing up to his potential.

Pipe Dream: Tommie Campbell. We currently have an opening at CB, why not target one of the best CB's in the league (him and Randle are 1-2 in my opinion)? He's lockdown DB that you can throw on pretty much anyone. If he doesn't get an NFL look, he will likely be highly sought after.

Potential Target: Mike Klassen. We need Canadian depth along the D-line (assuming the plan is to start one Cdn there) and we currently have zero under contract. Klassen is not a big name guy but is a veteran who may fit our needs and budget.

Pipe Dream: Mo Leggett. I know he's coming off injury but I think he's one of the most impactful defenders in the game. This category is called "pipe dream" so why not dream big. Whether its at safety or up at LB, Leggett is a playmaker that can change a game. We'd of course have to delouse him to get the Winnipeg stank off.

Potential Target: Jake Thomas. A bigger name than Klassen but still potentially within our means. He's another Canadian D-lineman that may be on our radar should one or more of Mrabure, Steele, Henry not return.

Pipe Dream: SJ Green. We don't really need him but after showing last season that returning from injury did not diminish his ability to make circus catches there's little reason to doubt Green won't remain among the top WR's in the League. And who knows with how pissed everyone seems to be at Toronto maybe this isn't a pipe dream.

Potential Target: Mitchell White. This would cost us but Mitchell is a good CB that would take Rogers' place quite nicely. I expect us to try and fill that spot through scouting for cost purposes but if we were inclined to spend, he would be a likely target.

Pipe Dream: Ted Laurent. He's the biggest fish (both figuratively and literally in free agency). He's an all-star Canadian defensive tackle a rare asset that most GM's would kill to have (this time I'm hopefully just speaking figuratively). He is an instant boost to whichever team lands him.

Potential Target: Mike Atkinson. Quietly providing Cdn depth behind Laurent is a more likely candidate for us in Atkinson. He wouldn't exactly give much of a boost to the D but you can never have enough Canadian depth. 

Pipe Dream: Zach Evans. Yes, I said it. Evans is a pipe dream. Get over it! Just because he's from Regina, doesn't mean he's coming here. I would love to have him, as we need a Canadian DT of his calibre but don't assume just because he came from here that he's coming back. Everyone assumed the same things last time he was a potential FA and he chose to re-sign in Ottawa. I get the sense he likes it there.

Potential Target: Arnaud Gascon-Nadon. Not as flashy as Evans but with 9 sacks in the last 2 seasons Gascon-Nadon could provide great value for a Canadian D-lineman. Not sure how he'd fit in our scheme but he's worth looking into.

Pipe Dream: Honestly, Montreal is in such bad shape that even their potential free agents suck. I looked through that list and found very few I'd even consider. Philip Blake is the only name that stood out as he is a starting Canadian OL. So him I guess.

Potential Target: Hopefully no one. Seriously. Half of their FAs used to  play for us and the other half hopefully never will. Back away, not today.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday Thoughts: Duron, Wilder, XFL and more

It's Friday and let's be honest. I'm too lazy to compose full sentences and paragraphs and you are too lazy to read them. So my random, point form thoughts below really suit both our needs. Let's get to what's been happening.

- The biggest news of the week here in Saskatchewan was the re-signing of Duron Carter. He runs his mouth, he's good for at least one objectionable conduct call a game but damn is he talented and brings so much to our offensive attack! And for all his faults, off the field he has no issues and is great with the fans. All the top teams have at least 2 stud receivers (most more). So keeping him and Roosevelt is key if we hope to stay competitive in the West.

- It also means another year of TD celebrations (and now he's had all offseason to scheme). I'm hoping for a Flying V and the wresting fan in me would like to see a table incorporated. And as much as I think he needs to be a fulltime offensive players, I would be lying if I said that I had no interest in at least one more pick six on Calgary.  "Hey Bo, he's still your best receiver"

- The not so good news was OL Bruce Campbell getting suspended for failing a drug test. Honestly never thought I'd see the day where the CFL tested for drugs, let alone suspended for them. Campbell is a pending FA so he's future here is uncertain. I think we'd like him back but I think we'd prefer to find a way to start 3 Canadians on the line instead.

- The big CFL news was James Wilder announcing he's sitting out the 2018 season because he's making league minimum. I have no problem with the Argos standing firm. No one held a gun to Wilder's head when he agreed to sign a 2 year deal for that salary. Go figure that the terms of a mutually agreed to contract are enforceable. That said... I also have no problem with Wilder doing everything in his power to increase his earning potential. Contracts aren't guaranteed like other leagues so if a player wants to sit out to try and leverage a bigger salary or a release, Go for it. They are the ones who have to make the decision best for them and their family. Careers are short so make as much $ as you can here and now.

-   I honestly don't believe this is over. While I can see the Argos being reluctant to let him go to the NFL (which I get), I also think Jim Popp is smart enough to realize that the Argos are better off ponying up more money to get Wilder on the field rather than holding the line and not having him. After some initial posturing expect some negotiations to go on.

- This situation has once again raised the question of the bringing back the option year. I would be in favour of that. Some teams are already essentially giving option years by releasing players early (i.e. what we did with Bouka). So why not just make things standard across the board?

- The XFL is coming back in 2020

- After some initial hype I expect this to end like all other non-NFL pro leagues in the US. I just hope this short lived iteration gives us great memories like He Hate Me and the zany kickoff race that ended up separating a guy's should in week 1.

- I also think that Paul McCallum should come out of retirement and kick the first point just like he did in the original XFL.

CFL Ins and Outs

In: WR Duron Carter (contract extension)

Out: FB Rob Cote (retired)

In: DL David Menard (contract extension), QB Michael Birdsong, DL Tyriq McCord, DL Terrence Waugh, DL Cedric Reed (free agent)

In: DB Neil King (contract extension), DL Mark Makie (2017 draft pick signing), DB David Stevenson, RB Korliss Marshall (free agent signing)
Out: DL Marcus Howard, DL Philip Hunt, OL Danny Groulx, DB Cauchy Muamba (released)

In: WR Tylor Henry (2017 draft pick signing), DB Steven Clarke, DB Brendan Morgan (free agent signing)

In: OL Alex Mateas (contract extension), WR Jhajuan Seales (free agent signing)
Out: DB DaQuan Pace (released)

In: QB Garrett Fugate, QB Nick Shafnisky, DL Ventral McMillan, WR Lonnie Outlaw, LB Jordan Harris (free agent signing)
Out: OL Vincent Brown, Chad Bushley, WR Alex Carroll, OL Jeremy Lewis, FB Nate O’Halloran, DL Keith Shologan (released)