Ever since Jason Clermont was released on Dec 4, teams across the league (except Hamilton) were clamouring to sign what is easily the biggest name on this year’s free-agent market. With offers from 2 teams and phone calls from 3 others, Clermont had many good options in front of him (well he had a couple good options and then Toronto and Winnipeg).
So while Rider Nation held their breath to see if the long awaited homecoming would indeed materialize, one man decided to actually do something about it… that man was me. While Clermont was mulling over the latest offer from the Riders, I stepped up to the plate and made an offer no true Regina boy could refuse… a free case of beer. I made the offer Thursday afternoon and the deal was official by the end of the day… the beer no doubt being the thing that cinched Clermont’s decision (signing a 2 year plus an option contract).
No need to thank me. Just doing my part to help out. Well actually you should be thanking me and this being the Christmas season and all, I would graciously accept tokens of your appreciation. Such as a case of beer.
Now all the intangibles that come along with Clermont like being a Regina native, a former Ram and an all-round good guy are nice, but the most important part of this signing is that in Clermont we get an elite level player who will have a big impact on our offense next season. When you look at the prospect of Fantuz and Clermont lining up together, it’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago, we were forced to rely on Jason French, Dylan Ching and Patrick Thibeault as our Canadian receivers (man those were some rough years).
Some people didn’t feel this signing was necessary or even a good idea so let’s address those misguided fools (who are hopefully in the minority) with another edition of Everyone Is Stupid But Me (aka Addressing Uninformed Opinions)
Uninformed Opinion #1: We have no need for Clermont given our current depth at Canadian receiver.
False: While we do have a number of very promising prospects, I would contend that none of them are as good as a former Rookie of the Year, 2 time Most Outstanding Canadian, and 2 time league all-star. I’m not sure what led people to think we have better options than Clermont on our roster. Was it Chris Getzlaf’s many awards and 1000 yard seasons? Adam Nicolson’s track record of not getting cut in favour of Clermont? David McCoy’s wealth of game time experience? … oh wait.
Uninformed Opinion #2: Clermont’s best days are behind him.
False. Clermont is only 30 so he’s got a few good years left in him. And if you use the logic that his injury-filled ’08 season is a sign of a declining career then I can assume that you feel Wes Cates, John Chick and Andy Fantuz are also pretty much done.
Uninformed Opinion #3: We needlessly spent big money on Clermont when we should have been using that money to sign our linebackers.
First off, while Clermont received a decent contract it can hardly be considered “big money”. Second, the Clermont signing has no affect on our negotiations with our linebackers. The money for this signing will likely come from letting DJ Flick leave via free-agency. I will miss Flick as he is a character guy and a talented receiver but when you have the chance to sign an elite Canadian who plays the same spot, the decision is easier than making the playoffs in the NFC West.
In other news, that Omarr Morgan rumour I told you about last week, turned out to be false. Seems the Washington Huskies have filled their DB coach spot. You see this is how the offseason goes for me. Thursday I posted an update on Clermont and the Morgan rumour. By that night, the Morgan rumour had been debunked and Clermont had signed (rendering most of my post irrelevant and outdated - hard to believe, I know). Same thing happened last year when I guaranteed we would not draft Teale Orban… within hours he was a Rider. No matter what I post, something will come up right after I post it that screws everything up. Honestly if you want to guarantee we get a brand new stadium in Regina, all it would take is for me to post that there’s no chance in hell it will happen and within hours Brad Wall and Pat Fiacco would be at the ground breaking ceremony.
CFL Ins and Outs
In: Paul McCallum (re-signed)
Looks like this time Chinigan is packing up the whole family and moving them to Vancouver, possibly out of his overwhelming shame of being associated with Regina. It could also be that he can no longer afford to maintain two households during the season, largely due to the fact that he had to take a pay cut on this contract since the Lions removed "Jason Clermont's Spokesman" from his title.
In: WR Chris Dunlap, FB Mike Giffin, WR S.J. Green, CB Cortney Grixby, LB KaMichael Hall, DE Rodney Hardeway, WR Andrew Hawkins, RB Chris Jennings, T Ryan Karhut, QB Chris Leak, QB Ricky Santos, DB Chris Smith, RB Brandon Whitaker (signed contracts for 2009)
If you’re asking yourself “what’s notable about these signings?”, the answer is nothing (unless you believe that Ricky Santos is the heir to the Calvillo throne). It's just that other than the Clermont story, there’s been very little CFL news this week and by including this fairly long list of signings it makes it look like this post has more content that it actually does… welcome to the offseason.