After enduring what seemed like an endless barrage of bad news, Rider fans were finally treated to some good news. It was announced that potential free agents Matt Dominguez, Eddie Davis, Chris Szarka and Corey Grant have all re-signed with the Riders. The news regarding Davis and Dominguez was particularly welcome as both were expected to test the free agent market. As for Szarka, his return was never really in doubt, which led many to wonder why it took so long for him to re-sign... Turns out it takes longer to sign your name with only three fingers.
We also found out that Kerry Joseph was not offered a contract by the New Orleans Saints and last year's Most Outstanding Player will be back in green and white in '08. Now this is not so much a sigh of relief as it is a confirmation of what I already knew. I said from the start that there was never any danger of Joseph going to the NFL. Joseph making the NFL was about as likely as Britney Spears being named Mother of the Year.
So rest easy Rider fans, the sky is not falling. Most of our championship team will be back next year.
Now let's bring you up to speed on the rest of the CFL
In: Dan Goodspeed (re-signed), Tom Canada (re-signed), Matt Sheridan (re-signed), Sebastian Clovis (trade with BC)
I don't know how Winnipeg managed to re-sign their big 3 free agents (Goodspeed, Canada and Sheridan) when they were rumoured to be in cap trouble before the signings, but there's probably a simple explanation: The Bombers must have hired a Winnipeg resident to do their accounting. It's a well known fact that Winnipegers have trouble with math once they run out of fingers to count. So the accountant is telling them there's plenty of money to spend when in reality there's nothing at all.
In: Tyler Ebell, TJ Acree (trade with Edm)
Adam Rita must have realized that he was running dangerously low on running backs with only 4 left on the roster and moved quickly to address the issue.
In: Tony Miles (free agent), Michael Botterill, Chris Thompson (trade with Edm)
So allow me to summarize: back in '05 Hamilton traded an all-star O-linemen (Dan Comiskey) and a league leading running back (Troy Davis) to Edmonton. A few years later what do they have to show for it? A fullback (Jeff Piercy) and 2 back-up players from the worst team in the West. I haven't seen this degree of roster mis-management since the Florida Panthers traded Roberto Luongo for what amounted to 2 prospect players.
In: Tay Cody (free agent), Jeff Keeping (free agent), Jojuan Armour (...well actually he changed his mind)
See if you can keep up with this: Tay Cody, while under contract to the Hamilton Ti-Cats, signed a contract with the AAFL. Then after being released by Hamilton, he signs with Montreal. Confused? Me too. My working theory is that he just loves writing his name. Then we have Jojuan Armour, who had agreed verbally to a deal with the Alouette's only to change his mind and sign with the Stamps (reportedly for less than what the Als were offering). Armour knew that after the disaster that was the 2007 season, he just had to get away from Hamilton... and apparently Montreal just wasn't far enough.
In: Joe Smith (re-signed), Rob Pikula (trade with Winnipeg)
It appeared as though Smith was poised to jump to the NFL after a few workouts down south. The workouts went well and Smith was offered an NFL contract. Sources say he was about to sign, right up until he read the fine print and realized that he would have to play for the Houston Texans. Can't say I blame him for choosing to come back to BC.
In: Brock Ralph (trade with Hamilton), Jordan Younger (trade with Toronto),
Garrick Jones (free agent), Dario Romero (free agent)
Sources say that one of the factors involved in the Brock Ralph trade is that Ralph's son needed specialized medical treatment that is only offered in Alberta. So the Eskimos get a sweet deal on Ralph because his kid is sick, fresh off getting a sweet deal on Fred Perry because he owed a bunch of money. What's next, Cam Wake needs to be moved inland because he's developed an allergy to the ocean? Seriously if they receive any more charitable donations they will be forced to register as a non-profit organization.
In: Richard Karikari (free agent), Jojuan Armour (free agent)
Calgary is apparently employing the lesser known strategy of improving your defense by signing players from the only other defense as futile as your own. Of course this is a big improvement over their last plan which was to improve the defense by pumping more money into the offense.