Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Riders Sign Simpson

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)


Craig said...

I agree with you on what I think you're implying... that Taman isn't worthy of Tillman's shoes.

Good GM's make hard decisions that usually go against popular opinion, and Taman just hasn't done that yet.

Rider Prophet said...

Exactly. By now Tillman would have made no less than 3 contraversial moves.

The irony is not lost on me. Tillman's moves were very unpopular despite the fact that for the most part they were based on sound logic.

Taman's moves have all been quite popular despite the fact they don't seem to be based on much logic.

(Different) Craig said...

Not sure I agree with that... when you have a chance to pick up players like Goodspeed and Simpson who have been among the best in the league at their position for years, it only makes sense to do it!

Just because Mike McCullough is adequate at the position, that doesn't mean we can't get better. Does anyone actually think he'll come anywhere close to leading the league in tackles? I'd be amazed. But there's no reason to think Simpson won't be close.

Rider Prophet said...

Goodspeed I am okay with, a proven veteran at tackle is always a plus. Our line struggled last year at times so he should give that group a boost. I’m concerned with how many “starting” OL we have on the roster but am holding out hope that one way or another Miller and Taman will address this before the season starts.

Simpson though, as I said, I am very sceptical. You are right that Simpson has been one of the top MLB in the league over the past number of years and has posted impressive tackle numbers in that time. I can see why people are excited about Simpson but I’m just not buying in. Call it a gut feeling, call it a premonition, call it an unsubstantiated bias but I just don’t think that the 2010 Barrin Simpson will be as good as he has been in the past.

Maybe he will prove me wrong (there’s a first time for everything :) ) and turn in an all-star calibre season but I for one don’t see it happening.

CK said...

Have the Riders installed bar-napkin dispensers in the GM's office yet?

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