If I know my readership (and there are only like 8.5 of you so I probably should) you are split between 1 of 2 groups as you read this. Group A is the “I was in bed early and am up feeling refreshed and reading this post as the sun rises. What a great start to the New Year!”. Group B is the “I feel like I was hit by a gravel truck and am reading this at some point in the evening or even days later. Someone please put me out of my misery”. Whichever group you are in I hope you had great holidays and wish you nothing but the best in the coming year (except those of you who cheer for other teams… I wish you the best in all non-football related matters).
Lots of Rider news to get caught up on as we start 2018 so whiskey up that coffee or beer up those cheerios and let’s get to it.
Contract extensions were the big news over the holidays. Pending FAs Bridge, Coleman and Johnson were extended (pause for childish giggle at “Johnson extended"). Also, Christion Jones and Crezdon Butler who were already under contract for 2018 were extended through 2019. All good news. I especially like locking down Jones and Butler long term. Jones’ ability to change a game in an instant is apparent to all. Butler was a very underrated DB last season. Him taking over the HB spot was a turning point for our pass defense. He stabilized that unit and showed great ability to make a sure tackle on attempted screens… not bad for a guy who began his tenure by bouncing off the uprights. In the bigger picture these signings all mean one important thing: stability. We already have 17 of our 24 starters from the east final under contract for next season.
The other good thing all these deals mean is that we have extra room in the 2017 salary cap to spend on extensions. Probably not a ton but every little bit helps. Now that the 2018 league year has officially started expect more re-signings to be announced.
In less positive news, it appears we will be in search of a new short-side CB for 2018. Kacy Rogers has already had 5 NFL tryouts and not-so cryptically tweeted that in a matter of days his life will never be the same. Safe to say that he will be signing an NFL deal, likely very soon. Good for him, certainly a loss for us (though returning 4 out of 5 in your secondary is pretty darn good). I pray that we find someone not named Chris Lyles to fill that spot (unless he suddenly figured out how to actually cover a receiver this offseason).
The last big story to touch on is sadly Johnny Manziel. Dude hasn’t even signed in the CFL and I’m already sick of hearing about him. But he will be signing in the CFL it’s just a matter of when and where. I sincerely doubt the CLF/Ti-Cats make this big a deal about the ongoing saga of his ability to play in the CFL unless he was actually coming here… it’s called publicity. All signs point to him going to Hamilton (thank god) but lingering in the back of my mind is that workout… err I mean totally unrelated meeting with his publicist that we did. Could Johnny Football revitalize his career in the CFL? Sure, its possible. But it’s also possible that a tour bus of bikini clad models breaks down in front of my house and need a place to sleep but possibility is not probability.
In the coming weeks I will break down our pending free agents, look ahead to who might be on our radar come February as well as blatant filler to get us through the long offseason. I may even open up the Prophet mail bag. So if you have a question you’d like me to weigh in on, send it my way. How will we do in 2018? Who may be a surprise starter or surprise cut? Don’t you hate pants? Which restaurant chains do you hate the least? No topic is off limits.
Kacy Rodgers (Ssk) – works out for New England, Arizona, Buffalo
Ese Mrabure (Ssk) – works out for Tampa Bay
Jonathan Mincy (Mtl) – works out for New England, Cleveland, Arizona, Chicago, Buffalo, Oakland
Chandler Fenner (BC) – works out for New England
Ciante Evans (Cal) – works out for Chicago
Ja’Gared Davis (Cal) – works out for Philadelphia
Kenny Ladler (Edm) – works out for Philadelphia, Cleveland
TJ Lee (BC) – works out for Cleveland
Brandon Zylstra (Edm) – works out for Detroit, Arizona, Indianapolis
Euclid Cummings (Edm) – works out for San Francisco
Diontae Spencer (Ott) – works out for New Orleans
Shaq Richardson (Cal) – works out for San Francisco, Oakland
Jonathan Rose (Ott) – works out for Kansas City, Buffalo
DaVaris Daniels (Cal) – works out for Buffalo
CFL Ins and Outs
In: QB Brandon Bridge, OL Thaddeus Coleman, DB Jovon Johnson, KR Christion Jones, DB Crezdon Butler (contract extension), WR Mitch Picton, LB Alexandre Gagne, LB Alexandre Chevrier (re-signed), OL Danny Sprukulis (2017 draft pick signing)
In: OL Cody Husband (contract extension)
In: WR Kamar Jorden, WR Lemar Durant, DB Brandon Smith, OL Brad Erdos, OL Randy Richards (contract extension)
In: WR Weston Dressler, OL Manase Foketi, DL Drake Nevis (contract extension) DB Travis Howard, DB Sam Brown, DL Daniel Awoleke (free agent signing)
In: OL Brandon Revenberg (contract extension)
In: RB Declan Cross (contract extension)