Every Rider GM seems to have their own policy when it comes to signing free agents during the offseason. Eric Tillman subscribed to the “Buy Saskatchewan” policy, which was in stark contrast to Roy Shivers’ “Buy American” policy, which was in stark contrast to Al Ford’s “Buy Nothing” policy. Well as I discussed a week or so ago, our new GM has his own acquisition policy, “Buy Blue Bomber”, and his latest signing under this policy was made official last week.
The Riders signed Barrin Simpson and many are heralding this as a great move by the Riders. On some level it’s hard to argue with them… we lost our MLB to the NFL this offseason and Simpson is a multiple time all-star at the position and on 2 occasions was named the top defensive player in his division. Seems like a no brainer (or as it’s also known, “something so obvious even Brendan Taman could figure it out”). But I’m far more skeptical.
For one, I see a career on the decline. He used to be one of the best LBs in the league but his last 2 season have been cut short by injuries. If he were younger you wouldn’t put much stock in it (such as Fantuz or Chick) but he’s the wrong side of 30 so his durability and ability to keep playing at a high level are a concern for me. Also, I have concerns about his me-first attitude. Last year when it was suggested he rotate rather than be an every down player he was vocal about his unhappiness. I take the situation with a grain of salt due to Mike Kelly being involved but the fact remains Simpson doesn’t take kindly to sharing his playing time with anybody (even back in his BC days). I like competitive players but when that supersedes what the coaches deem to be best for the team it becomes a problem. The coaches didn’t immediately put Rey Williams back as a starter after he was injured last year so the situation could easily come up here in Riderville. Lastly, while he is a good run stopper he isn’t all that good in pass coverage, which represents a significant portion of the game.
I still maintain that Freeman and McCullough could have handled things just fine but evidently I am in the minority. Maybe Simpson will come in and prove me wrong. If he can play like he did in ’06 and ’07 then he would certainly be an impact player… but I just don’t think he has it in him anymore. Some see an elite LB with a few more good seasons left in him. I see a declining veteran who still believes he is the best LB in the league and doesn’t take kindly to being told or treated otherwise. I don’t think he’s a terrible signing but I do think he is an unnecessary one.
Another concern I have is that our roster seems to be getting very expensive. Durant and Fantuz were both given raises. Dorsey and Goodspeed are both more expensive than the guys there are presumably replacing. Kornegay, Parenteau, Patrick, Best and Alexander all got new deals for at least as much if not more than they made last season. I assume Simpson didn’t come cheap. Something’s gotta give at some point. There was savings with the departures of Davis, Chick, Baggs and Williams (though Baggs would be negligible since he was a nobody coming into the season and likely being paid as such) but it sure doesn’t seem to balance to me.
In other Rider news, season ticket sales have reached 23,000 which is phenomenal! The Riders are planning to cap season ticket sales at 25,000 if need be. The high demand also means that the Riders will be installing the temporary seats again to increase the capacity at the stadium. What this boils down to is that if you haven’t already done so, you better rush out and get your Rider tickets because before long those tickets will be harder to come by than a clean/attractive prostitute in Saskatchewan… and they will be equally as expensive (not that I would know anything about that).
In other CFL news, there are rumours that BC was trying to swing a deal with the Argos that would have seen Jarious Jackson traded for Rob Murphy. Seems like a fair trade to me… both teams get an overrated and grossly overpaid player that is unlikely to bring any tangible improvement to their team. While reports are that the trade is unlikely to happen, it certainly stirred up some lively debate around the issue of insider trading between the Lions and Argos. Personally I don’t think it’s a huge issue. Wally Buono places winning above all else so there’s no way he would swing a charity deal to the Argos that doesn’t help him somehow. David Braley is a business man not a charity case and his goal is to help build the Argos back to a profitable organization so he won’t further harm the already lowly club just to benefit the Lions. So if BC won’t swing a charity deal with the Argos and the Argos won’t swing a charity deal with Lions then the only trades they are likely to do would benefit both teams… which is no different that the other teams in the league. Besides, if BC really thinks that the key to climbing out of the west division basement is to stock up on Argonauts then I say let them continue in their misguided ways.
CFL Ins and Outs
…none of which I can think of anything insightful, funny or even coherent to comment on.
In: DB LaDarius Key, DB Brandon Foster, DB Brandon Register (free agent signing)
In: DB Dylan Barker (contract extension)
In: DB Reggie Sullivan, LB Stewart Franks, RB DeCori Birmingham (free agent signing)
In: RB Corey Council (free agent signing)