In the midst of a winter break where we can’t go anywhere or do anything, it may seem like CFL football is a long way away. And it probably is. While I’m pretty confident there will be a season, I would be willing to put money on it not starting in June. But, the fact that there is actually tangible football news to discuss is really refreshing. There have been a number of notable Rider goings on… so let’s talk about them. Unless you’d prefer I give you Mandalorian spoilers… it turns out baby Yoda is the long lost third Skywalker sibling. Things got weird between Yoda and Queen Amidala.
Cody Fajardo – He restructured his contract. This is going to be a fairly standard process for any starting QB. Reilly and Adams have already worked through it. Teams need to cut salary costs if they are going to make it through 2021 and the best place to start is the biggest contract on your payroll. In a normal year you might be worried that asking your most important player for a pay cut would be a risky undertaking but everyone understands where the league is at financially and everyone is in the same boat so there is no greener pastures to explore.
Zach Evans – Many were surprised by his release. I was not. I was among his greatest critics last season. He managed to be completely invisible while playing next to Micah Johnson and Charleston Hughes. And I’m not even talking just on the stat sheet (because sacks don’t tell the full story on a DT). But he just didn’t pass the eye test and rarely had an impact on plays. Add in a roster bonus that was coming due and the fact that he’s now the wrong side of 30 and unless he was willing to take a sizeable paycut, his days were numbered. Look, I like Zach Evans, he was good in 2018 and his career speaks for itself. It’s just too bad that Brendan Taman was too stupid to realize he was good and let him go in the dispersal draft and give his 4 best years to Ottawa. Anyway, as much as losing a starting Canadian creates a hole on your roster, I’m not too worried about this. I’m pretty high on Charbel Dabire and am pretty confident that at a minimum he can also be invisible along our D-line, thus seamlessly replacing Evans.
William Powell – I’m a bit conflicted on this. On one hand, I like Powell and think he is a talented back. He did score 14 TDs last season. But… he’s going to be 33. That’s like 70 in running back years. I think he still has enough to vie for the starting role but we had better find a back-up RB who is still in his 20s. We can’t have another year where we back him up with someone another old man like Thigpen.
Mike Edem – Starting Canadian defender. Important piece to keep. Plus he’s pretty good on top of that and seems to fit well in the Shivers D.
Braden Schram – This won’t register on the radar of many as Schram is just a back-up OL. But I am glad we are bringing him back. For one, you can never have enough Canadian OL depth. But also, I think Schram has the potential to be a starter. With Shepley possibly sticking in the NFL we have a hole to fill and I think Schram will be in the mix.
Jorgen Hus – The best compliment you can pay a long snapper is that you don’t really notice them. Hus is extremely reliable to the point where you just assume the snap will be fine.
Lots left to go, but even just being able to talk about Rider football makes me feel like drinking some rye and calling up Bradbury just to yell at him.