Wednesday free agency opens across the CFL. As per usual, there will be no NHL-style TSN all day event… though not for lack of trying on my part. I have been pitching an all day CFL Free Agent Frenzy special hosted by me. Discussions fell apart when we got to the part where I would be doing the Charleston for 40-50 minutes, as well as the segment devoted to me making a sandwich… it may have also had something to do with my refusal to accept their terms that I wear pants. Anywho, we will have to settle so periodic interweb updates to follow the goings on.
As a preview free agency, allow me to present my highly biased and unscientific thoughts on what we might see on Wednesday. I’ll start with current Riders and then move into other big names across the league.
Andy Fantuz – This is of course the talk of free agency. Fantuz is the grand prize on the FA market. We already have a humungous offer on the table, Edmonton will be joining us, so will Winnipeg. Hamilton and Toronto both claim they will not pursue Fantuz hard but quite frankly that’s a bigger load of crap than most farmers have when they clean their barns out. It will be an all out bidding war and the craziest offer will land Fantuz.
It still wouldn’t surprise me if we are that craziest offer (remember Taman did pay Dominique Dorsey 6 figures for goodness sake). I hope we have a somewhat reasonable limit and walk away if it goes beyond that. I want Fantuz back but its not worth breaking the bank over.
Odds of returning: 40%
Jason Clermont – Will most likely retire, but so far he has been rather non-committal in that regard. I’m guessing he will but I bet he would entertain another short deal. Otherwise he might actually have to start paying for advertising for his real estate business.
Odds of returning: 5%
Leron Mitchell – He’s Canadian, fast, an asset on special teams, can play corner in a pinch (not well, but he can play). Don’t see why we wouldn’t bring him back unless we have something else lined up in terms of Canadians.
Odds of returning: 60%
Tristan Jackson – One of the few guys to bust his ass consistently last year. He would probably already be signed if not for the fact that he made over $100,000 last season and we won’t pay him that again (nor should we). I like him but at $100K he’s replaceable.
Odds of returning: 60%
Stu Foord – Same deal as Mitchell. We need Canadians to play special teams (and yes that’s all I see his role as) so might as well be him.
Odds of returning: 75%
Cary Koch – This one baffles me. Go back and watch the 2010 West Final and the preseason game last year where he made that one handed catch and tell me this guy shouldn’t be in camp. I don’t think he’ll ever be a #1 but I think he’s showed enough to earn an invite back. Sadly given how quiet things have been on the Koch front I don’t see that happening.
Odds of returning: 25%
Graeme Bell – Be honest, did you even remember he was on our team? He’s another Canadian special teams guy. If we had guys waiting in the wings he might be expandable but as far as I know we don’t. I could either way with him… err… in a purely metaphorical sense that is.
Odds of returning: 50%
Other Big Names Across The League
Brendan Labatte (OL) – Rumours running rampant that we are ready to step up with big money to bring the Weyburn product home. Let’s see for a second… Bomber: Check. Big Money: Check. Yep that is definitely right up Taman’s alley. That said as long as we don’t go crazy on the money, a young elite OL like him would be nice to have.
Rod Davis (LB) – To me he is the biggest defensive name on the market. For a team faced with replacing all 3 starting LBs he would be a wonderful addition. That said I don’t see it happening. My guess would be BC scoops him up so Rich Stubler can have him again… they do need to replace Elimimian.
Jermaine McElveen (DL) – Not sure why Montreal didn’t use this guy more last year. He had 8 sacks in 2010 but then saw a fraction of the playing time last year. We need help along the DL. Again don’t see it happening but just throwing it out there as something worth looking at.
Aaron Hunt (DL) – A couple years ago I would have said we should go hard after him. I still think he’s good but realistically he is now the wrong side of the 30 so the little bit we may gain in replacing Romero with him would likely not be worth the extra money. I bet he stays in BC.
Dominic Picard (OL) – He a starting caliber centre so he should have value on the market. His only downside is the fact that he’s French… kidding. His downside his is temper that leads to bad penalties from time to time. I’m going out on a limb here and saying he ends up going back to Winnipeg.
Tim O’Neil (OL) – Another starting centre and this one has familiarity with Kris Sweet so it wouldn’t not surprise me to see him land here. I say his options will be Calgary, Toronto and us.
Burke Dales – We don’t need a punter but he is one of the better ones in the league so somebody should be interested. I just hope whoever signs him also signs the recently unemployed Sandro DeAngelis just for entertainment sake.
Willie Pile (S) – If we didn’t already have too many safeties I would love to nab Pile. He is one of the best safeties in the league. Chris Jones really doesn’t use safeties in the traditional sense so Pile may be on his way out. Hamilton is my bet for a landing spot.
Brandon Isaac (DB) – By no means is he a big name but I certainly have my eye on him (again strictly in a metaphorical sense). He’s a DB who Calgary converted in play LB and I really like him. He would certainly be an upgrade at the Sean Lucas spot (though pretty much anything would be). Chamblain knows him so maybe it’s in the cards. This will be my sleeper pick for the Riders.