I originally had this typed up and ready to go for Monday but then all hell broke loose on Friday with trades, pot charges and allegations or marital infidelity. Okay maybe I made that last one up (but I probably had you briefly wondering what you had missed and who was in trouble) but the point remains that Friday was crazy and so this post got bumped in favour of more pressing commentary. I’ve since had to edit it a couple times (and likely within 5 mins of posting something will happen that renders more of this irrelevant) but here but goes anyway.
I wanted to take a look at our remain unsigned pending free agents to see which we should be making a final push for and who may or may not end up back in 2018.
WR Nic Demski–I heading into the offseason I felt like we needed to retain at least one of Demksi and Bailey. Obviously my preference would be for the more versatile/dynamic Demski. But of the 2 he is likely to command the most money on the open market and we are not a team with the liberty of offering many big pay days. Now that Bailey is secured, I’m even more skeptical that Demksi will be back. I certainly want him back and would guess the Riders do too but my gut says Demski gets more money from another team.
DL Ese Mrabure – We would gladly take him back given his passport and versatility along the D-line but Coach Jones said he’s likely to get a chance down south. So he’s either NFL bound (and I can’t see Jones saying that unless it was highly likely) or back here if that falls through.
DL Eddie Steele – Ratio-wise, its highly likely we need to start a Canadian on the D-line. We currently have 0 under contract and it sounds like Mrabure is gone. I’d love to say we are going to pony up the cash to land a Ted Laurent or Zach Evans but I don’t see that happening. That leaves very few options if we intend on starting a Canadian. Almost by default I would think bringing Steele back is a priority. I would rate him as adequate but not great. In the absence of better alternatives that will have to do. And quite frankly with Hughes and Jefferson working alongside him and a hopefully big year for Nick James, adequate may just be enough.
LB Otha Foster – Foster and Jones have been together dating back to Edmonton. Foster plays the very difficult cover LB spot and can fill in at HB. Bottom line is he’s talented, valuable and loved by the coach. There’s only one issue… Derrick Moncrief. Moncrief established himself as a viable starter in his rookie season at Foster’s spot and I think his ceiling in year 2 is even higher. With Moncrief able to fill that spot, likely for League minimum, there’s not a huge need for us to pay a lot more for Foster. If he will agree to a discounted salary we’d gladly keep him but with Calgary and Edmonton both in need of a new cover LB, I bet there will be money out there for Foster’s taking.
OL Dan Clark – I have a love for Clark much like how some people love changing diapers or repeatedly hitting themselves in the head with a frying pan. That said, it may surprise you to hear that I would recommend we re-sign Clark (I’ll pause here for your shocked gasp). I have no desire to see him starting but the fact remains we don’t exactly have a ton of OL depth or a viable alternative Centre so for purely insurance reasons I’d keep him. Honestly Clark’s calling in life is to the 6th OL and if we could build sufficient talent along the OL to make that a reality, what a wonderful world it would be. Clark could go back to scoring TDs and I could go back to not repeatedly cursing his name. Everyone wins.
K Quinn van Gyslwyk – He has no reason to re-sign here and we have no reason to try very hard to keep him. Over the past 2 season we’ve needed him for 2 games and 3 kicks (2 of which he missed). I think he could be a solid kicker given the opportunity but with both Crapigna and Bartel locked up here for 2 more years his place ain’t here. I wish we would have traded him prior to this point to at least get some return on him.
FB Spencer Moore – An underrated “glue” guy that I would love to have back. He’s a decent blocker, can catch when called on and plays well on special teams (15 tackles last season). We also currently have zero fullbacks under contract. I hope we can retain him.
DL AC Leonard – I have made no secret that I’m not a big Leonard fan. I will admit he produced more than I expected he would last season but with Hughes on the team and Antigha emerging as a strong rookie last season, the time may be right to move on from Leonard. Thing is Coach Jones would disagree with me here and my vote tends not to count. Jones has been grooming him since he was a Tight End curiously hand-picked to play DE. I would be surprised to see Leonard anywhere else in the CFL than here… but I guess that really depends on if another team also shares the view that Leonard is a DE and is willing to pay him accordingly.
RB Greg Morris – There is a lot to like about Greg Morris. He is a Canadian that can back up both RB and kick return. He has been productive in limited opportunities to touch the ball. If it weren’t for the fact that he has a case of the butterfingers he could be making a lot more money. I would love to have him back but with us clearly going American at RB and Christion Jones as returner I’m not sure that there is a spot for him. A utility back-up Canadian is never a bad thing and now that LaFrance is gone it may open up room for Morris.
OL Bruce Campbell – From a purely talent standpoint I think we would want Campbell back. Complicating matters though are his 2 game suspension and the fact that we want to start 3 Canadian OL. I could see us holding off and if he’s still available mid-season, bringing him in as depth/injury replacement.
DL Makana Henry – Doesn’t appear on the Free Agency list but by my records show his deal is up. Normally you would side with the large organization that has the official records over the internet blogger with questionable grammatical skills but the CFL doesn’t exactly have a pristine record when it comes to record keeping. Either way, given that Jones gave Henry an opportunity to play when it appeared his football career was long over, I see Henry back in Green and White in 2018 providing Canadian DL depth.