Players have been able to legally talk to teams for a while now and the deals they have been working on can become official on Tuesday when free agency officially opens. Personally I hope Ed Hervey is the first person to sign someone, just seconds after things open. Legal tampering is after all essentially the Hervey-rule.
The Riders have done a ton of work leading up to free agency. They locked down Cam Judge and Shaq Evans, both key pieces to the team (can you imagine if someone had told you in 2018 that Shaq Evans would be a key signing?). They also managed to retain Ed Gainey, which quite frankly surprised me. I kinda got the sense we were ready to move on. Continuity in the secondary is important so it’s a pleasant surprise… provided he has to win his job in camp and not just be appointed. I wonder if Gainey utilized the legal tampering period to find out the lowish offer from the Riders actually reflected what other teams thought his market value was.
One person not likely coming back is Namaan Roosevelt. A move that has me very conflicted. Look from a purely numbers sense, I get it. We have Moore, Evans, Williams-Lambert and Stafford. All are capable of 1000 yard seasons and are all younger and (with the exception of Evans) cheaper than Roosevelt. Hard to justify investing what Roosevelt is probably worth. But as much as I get it, I hate seeing him go. He’s been one of my favourite players since the 2015 season when Cory Chamblin mysteriously refused to acknowledge his talent. He’s a heart and sole guy that gave his all even when he was playing on crappy teams in crappy games (see the majority of 2015 through 2016). We will need someone to step up and fill the void because he was money on second down. I wish him the best in whatever comes next. I just hope its not with the Bombers… which means knowing my luck, he’s definitely going to the Bombers.
Some people are speculating that we will bring in SJ Green to replace him…. Which is stupid! Why on earth would we deem the 32 year old Roosevelt expendable only to replace him with the 34 year old Green. Doesn’t make sense.
Word is Micah Johnson is heading to BC. Which leaves us a void at DT. I would grade our current D-line was decent to above average at best without Micah. We need a strong push in the middle to help out Hughes and Leonard and I don’t see our current guys being able to do that on their own. Obviously Dylan Wynn would be nice but he will also be $$$$. Another option more reasonable option may be Drake Nevis. Or an even cheaper option, Davon Coleman, though the quality diminishes quickly the less you are willing to pay.
We also still need an MLB and cover LB. Names like Larry Dean, Justin Tuggle, Micah Awe, Don Unamba, Patrick Levels and Anthony Cioffi come to mind. My guess is we an only afford 2 big name players on D so that means one of DT, MLB and cover LB will likely need to be filled by a new guy.
One final note. I love Willie Jefferson and think is the every bit the freak that his hype makes him up to be. But… if Toronto really thinks that paying him $300,000 is going to help turn their team around… that’s a bold strategy I don’t see panning out.