For the most part all is quiet across the CFL landscape... with the exception of Montreal where Plan A was a Maciocia/Taman combo and plan B appears to be Kavis Reed. While I feel that we have been denied some comedic gold with Maciocia spurning the Als, Kavis Reed is one hell of a consolation prize. That is of course unless you are an Alouette fan, in which case this is the equivalent of coal in your stocking, when what you really wanted was a slightly less crappy lump of coal.
Today, I will delve into the list of potential Rider free agents and opine on who we should be priority re-signings and who shouldn't let the door hit them on the way out (provided they weren't already among the literally hundreds already cut by Jones). I will leave Durant our of this analysis. I've already written plenty about him and there' been no new news. There's only so many ways I can say that there are no viable alternatives that would represent an improvement.
When I look at the list of pending FAs, 2 names stand out above the others: Otha Foster and Willie Jefferson. Foster was an unheralded but key piece of our defense. He is a veteran leader who plays the very difficult cover LB spot and can drop and play HB. Getting him back would be huge step in establishing an impact D. Jefferson played only a few games with us but was easily the most impactful d-lineman of the season (not that the bar was set high). A pass rush is key to pretty much anything you do defensively and Jefferson is an athletic freak who can chase a QB, drop into coverage and knock passes down. The fact that he's an athletic freak who is not one of Jones' conversion from another sport projects is also a plus in my books.
Not an absolute must, but I would like to see these players back.
Dylan Ainsworth - There's a huge question mark on him after missing all of 2016 due to injury but he can provide needed Cdn depth on DL and is a very solid special teamer when healthy.
Thaddeus Coleman - He's an adequate lineman but for a team with no OL depth that's good enough to warrant attention.
Jeff Hecht - Similar to Coleman he's adequate at best but really solidified the safety spot. I think we should be looking for the safety of the future but Hecht should be retained so we at least have a reliable option if that doesn't pan out.
Andrew Lue - Lue is part of the seach for safety of the future. He's young, Canadian and has potential to be a safety or at least contribute on teams.
Jorgen Hus - A reliable snapper is a must... plus his name is Jorgen, not many teams employ a Jorgen (at least outside of Europe)
Jeff Knox - The presence of Eguavoen, Jones and Muamba push him off the top priority list but Knox is still a guy I would love to have back.
Gregory Alexandre - Can provide depth at Cdn defensive tackle (which is important if we plan to start Gaydosh)
I honestly don't care whether these people return or not.
Ivan Brown - love his energy and hustle
Randy Chevrier - good emergency fill in but not likely in the future plans
Jeff Fuller - extremely talented but is made of glass we have a bunch of good import WRs so not sure how much $$ you want to tie up in him with more glaring needs
Mitchell Gale - if needed he's an adequate back-up QB but I'd like to think we can find better (our current track record would disagree though)
Corvey Irvin - Was a much hyped offseason signing but was pretty underwhelming for most of the season. I'd take him back but for what he did last season there are probably cheaper options.
Curtis Steele - He's a decent blocker and had some good games (when we actually decided to run) but I'd like to think we can find an impact running back as opposed to an adequate one (like McKnight could have been)
Jonathan Williams - Between age and injury, not sure what he has left
I think we should see other people
Shamawd Chambers - In retrospect it would have been equally as beneficial to just keep Getzalf. We are not exactly in a position to be too picky about Canadians but his salary can likely be put to better use.
Matt Webster - Never been a Webster fan and I'd like to think that we are to a point where the fact that he is a token Canadian Special teamer does not equate to long-term tenure.