Happy Family Day. A day intended for you to spend more time with your family... even though I think given the option most would prefer a vacation from their family but "Go get drunk with your buddies day" doesn't have the same ring to it.
We are now about a week into Free Agency, so I thought I would spend today taking a look at where the Riders' roster stands. I'm not going to bother assessing who "won" and "lost" free agency. If "winning" free agency correlated with winning championships, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers would be in the midst of a dynasty.
Coming into free agency the plan was consistency. Maintain as a much of the core from 2017 as possible (we were as a reminder one drive away from a chance to benefit from the Stampeders' annual Grey Cup choke). A lot of our early moves were in that line. Guys like Jefferson, Jones, Butler, Bridge,Carter, Bailey, Coleman, Moore, Clark got extended.
But somewhere in there the shear monotony of it all must have gotten to Jones and the consistency plan started shifting into bigger changes. There were the high profile trades for Collaros and Hughes. But few would argue that last season some key weaknesses of our team included lack of consistent play at QB and a lack of anyone named Jefferson getting anything resembling pressure. So far so good.
Even early in free agency, the moves were all headed in the right direction. We shed Dennis and his salary (by the way I fully expect him to have a monster year back in Calgary) in order to repatriate a young stud Canadian DT by the name of Zach Evans. An impact player in the middle of a D-line that is suddenly very imposing and bona fide Canadian starter. We even made some moves that may fly under the radar for most but are great additions. I'm talking specifically about Jake Harty. In him we get a young Canadian receiver (a place where quality, young depth is needed) and a great special teams player. Again, all good.
I won't rehash my rant about the whole Messam/Muamba thing. I've made my thoughts on that very clear and it stands out as the one aberration (albeit as massive one) in an otherwise good offseason.
So where do we stand roster-wise. Honestly for the most part we are in really good shape. There are a couple areas that still need addressing. Obviously there is a vacancy at left tackle. You can initially pencil Bond in that spot though given his lack of recent playing time there I imagine we are still looking at other options for competition (such as Campbell). We also need a new middle linebacker. I staunchly refuse to believe Sam Hurl is our plan A (please, please, please). With Messam, Bagg, Bailey and Harty we have the ratio flexibility to start 5 Cdn on offense (3 OL, 2 WR/RB) so an import is a possibility (please,please, please). We also need a new CB but I expect that to be filled through scouting (where we have not a bad record when it comes to DBs). But that's really it for starters.
From there its all about depth. We have no depth at import OL. We need some Cdn depth behind Zach Evans (look for us to draft there). We desperately need depth a LB. I love Eguavoen and Moncrief but see no one behind them. All in all though, the roster is not in terrible shape.
I'd be a lot happier with Maumba on the roster and Messam off but we still look to be in a competitive position in the West. Having lived through many offseasons of doom and gloom, I'll take where we are at for now.