Apologies for the lateness of this post. I have been very ill. Not in a good, Beastie Boys kind of way... more in a "you're happier not knowing the details" kind of way. At least if my sentimonies are nonsensical this time I can blame it on the vast amounts of over the counter pharmaceuticals I've ingested.
Let's start with the big news of the past week. Johnny freaking Manziel. Sigh. So unless you live under a rock (or in Manitoba where people think the internet is something you fish with)you heard that the Riders allegedly worked out Johnny Manziel sometime around the Senior Bowl. Now this was concerning on two levels. The first revolves around the partying, drugs, domestic violence and washing out of football. I mean I guess this is a step up from Vince Young but not much of one. Tough to have a ton of confidence in our ability to scout the next franchise QB if this is where we are spending our effort. But it is also concerning from a "oh by the way, Hamilton owns his neg rights and if the alleged workout took place is is just the latest in a long line of rule violations by Jones. If we are going to cheat could we at least not cheat for someone better?
But the "alleged" is a key piece to this story. Justin Dunk says it happened. The Riders say it didn't (which apparently was good enough for the League to determine the report was false) as did Manziel's people (known for their high level of conduct). I'll say this, if Dunk reported it, something happened. He just doesn't invent stories. My guess/hope is that whoever was at that workout (err alleged workout) can not be directly linked the Riders. Its the real life version of a "not enough evidence to overturn" challenge review. My gut tells me something happened. Exactly what? We may never know.
Onto free agency...
Last Monday I did a free agency primer, breaking down our needs and potential targets. Rather than rehash that, I will leave you with a few random thoughts on the eve of Free Agency
- I fully expect the Riders to sign a minimum of 1 big name OL and possibly two. Our line was atrocious last year and beefing it up would go a long way to turning us back into contenders. Derrick Dennis is the top target and I expect us to be in the mix. If we truly believe that St John can play tackle then Jeff Perrett is another option to watch. I think we need a big Canadian boost in the form of MacMillan or Deane.
- While I wouldn't put strong odds on this, the fact that we have Greg Morris could open the potential to target Canadian RB Kienan LaFrance. Given that the sample size on him is small, I'm not big on throwing huge money at him but if he values the chance to start, we are currently the best option in the CFL.
- I maintain that we will be making a big push for John Ojo.
- Other big name guys that should be on our radar: Euclid Cummings, Mic'Hael Brooks, Cleyon Laing, Alan Michael Cash, Drake Nevis (anyone would be a fine DT). Emmanuel Sanders, AJ Jefferson (if we are looking to further build on our secondary)
- Other not so big names on my radar: Brandon Rutley, James Yurichuk, Rob Cote.
I expect us to be active... just not to the extent we were last year. Hopefully this year we don't cut/trade all our acquisitions before the end of the year.
Bo Lokombo (BC) – signed with Baltimore
Quincy McDuffie (Win) – signed with Dallas
Bryan Burnham (BC) – worked out with Dallas
CFL Ins and Outs
In: DL Ivan Brown (contract extension), DL Derrick Lott (free agent signing)
Out: DB Fred Bennett, DL Levi Steinhauer (released)
In: WR Marquay McDaniel, DL Micah Johnson, DL Ben D’Aguilar (contract extension)
In: WR Bryan Burnham, OL Hunter Steward, WR Nick Moore, DL Braynt Turner, DB Steven Clarke, DB TJ Lee (contract extension), DB Buddy Jackson, DL Dylan Ainsworth, K Swayze Waters (free agent signing)
Out: LB Bo Lokombo (signed in NFL), OL Tim O’Neil (retired)
In: WR Adarius Bowman, DB Marcel Young, DB Brandyn Thompson, DL Marcus Howard, WR Natey Adjei, LB Blair Smith (contract extension), WR Shamawd Chambers, LB DJ Lalama (free agent signing)
In: LB Jesse Briggs (contract extension), DL Tristan Okpalaugo, DB Robert Porter, WR Alex Chisum, WR Xavier Rush, DB Josh Celerin (free agent signing)
Out: DL Keith Shologan, RB Pascal Lochard (released), WR Quincy McDuffie (signed in NFL)
In: WR Terrence Tolliver (contract extension)LB Nick Shortill (trade with Montreal)
Out: LB Byron Archambault (retired), LB Frederic Plesius (trade with Montreal)
In: WR Greg Ellingson, DB Jerell Gavins, RB William Powell (contract extension), QB Ryan Lindley, LB Darien Harris, DB Corey Tindal (free agent signing)
In: OL Chris Van Zeyl (contract extension), DB Jermaine Gabriel (restructured contract), LB Victor Butler, WR Chuck Jacobs, WR RJ Harris, WR Andre Debose, WR Chandler Worthy, WR Quayshawn Nealy (free agent signing)
In: DL Gabe Knapton, LB Kyries Hebert, WR Kyle Graves (contract extension) DL Keith Shologan, LB Anthony Sarao, DB CJ Moore, DB Kwame Adjei, LB Christopher Johnson (free agent signing), DL Jonathan Ngeleka, RB Ryan Nieuwesteeg (2016 draft pick signing), LB Frederic Plesius (trade with Hamilton)
Out: OL Jeff Perrett, K Anthony Fera, QB Rakeem Cato, OL Michael Bamiro, QB Shane Carden (released), LB Nick Shortill (trade with Hamilton)