CFL Free Agency is rarely super-duper exciting at the best of times. Its kinda like NHL trade deadline but without the over the top non-stop hype of TSN (which is somewhat ironic when your consider which of the leagues TSN has the rights to). But the 2021 version of CFL FA is likely to be even less eventful than normal.
You see normally you would have players hitting the free agent market in the hopes of making more money with a different team. This year there is no money, no greener pastures and only a handful of good players brave enough to try their luck fighting for the few scraps that are left.
The Riders, like most teams, enter free agency with most of their core intact. We have our QB stable, we have a RB, we have receivers, we have most of an OL. We have our entire secondary and enough guys that we could cobble together a decent D-line if needed. We also have our long snapper. So what does that leave you ask? (Why are you talking to a screen? If it starts talking back you should seek help). Well we could use some Cdn OL depth (though I expect that to come through the draft). We could still benefit from coaxing Charleston Hughes back. We have absolutely no starting LBs (a bold strategy indeed) and we have no kickers for the aforementioned long snapper to actually snap to.
Clearly money is getting tight because some reports have us no more than $15k away from Charleston Hughes' demands. We also have indicated that it’s unlikely that both Hughes and Elimimian return (unless both want to accept a significant pay cut… much like I assume Gainey did). Clearly we have money set aside to try and retain Judge but unless you are a starting Canadian under the age of 30 your “leverage” in this particular free agency will be lower than Milanovich’s win total in Edmonton.
So if we look outside retaining our starting 3 LB (Judge, Elimimian, Foster) what might be out there if we do decide to dabble in the free agency pool?
There’s your big names like Henoc Muamba, Almondo Sewell, Larry Dean, Cordarro Law and Micah Johnson that we could certainly use but I doubt we’ll be in on any of them unless they are coming cheap. I mean we didn’t want to pay Micah when we had money.
Then there’s the next tier of guys we could be kicking the tires on. Not sure we’ll be aggressive enough to land any but there is a chance. Names like: Adrian Tracy, Chris Casher, Craig Roh and Nevis Drake along the DL. At linebacker (our primary focus) Patrick Levels, Micah Awe, Justin Tuggle, Don Unamba and Christophe Mulumba (if Judge ends up not returning). Another name that caught my eye was RB Shaq Cooper. Now, we don’t need an RB and paying for an RB in normal times is usually not worth it but I just mention him because a) he’s really good and b) our current starter will soon be 33. I don’t it happening but a man can dream.
Legal tampering is now open… meaning actual tampering has been in full swing for a couple months now. I expect a few more dominoes to fall before free agency open on the 9th.