With the new year upon us, GMs are hard at work trying to whittle down their list of pending free agents, which is most team’s cases represent like 90% of their team. Most of the top end talent (or those with a competent agent) will wait until free agency to see their true value. But O’Day has managed to re-sign a few. So today we will take a look at the re-signings so far as well as what’s remaining on the potential free agent list.
Most of the re-signings so far have lacked the wow factor but quietly O’Day has been working to keep our Canadian depth in place. Most people probably couldn’t name our longsnapper but that’s because he does his job so well we take Jorgen Hus for granted. Kienan LaFrance is also not a top end guy but fills an important role on teams with the ability to step in a contribute on offense when needed. I was among our O-line’s biggest critics but I think maintaining some continuity there is important. Logan Ferland had a pretty solid year for someone who had never started a game outside of junior. I see him as someone with a very high ceiling as he gets more pro experience. Evan Johnson was somewhat of a disappointment in 2021… not bad, just average. But at just 27 its reasonable to expect him bounce back. Him and Ferland help keep the core of our OL young.
Had you told me a year ago that in a press release featuring the re-signing of Marshall and Teitz that Teitz would be one I was excited for I would have laughed at you. Keeping Teitz was important as he became a strong Canadian starter. You know my thoughts on Marshall, so I have very mixed feelings on that re-signing. I would have been fine letting him walk. But then you look at how he played in the playoffs and see a guy who still has the top end talent… even if we are starting to see it way less consistently. I hope we bring in some CBs to push him because if he’s starting in 2022 I want it to be because he earned the spot again, not just because of his past reputation. I’m genuinely puzzled why either us or Paul McRoberts would be interested in an extension. His role on our team has pretty much been absolute last resort but only if the only remaining option is fielding a scarecrow at WR. I like the guy and want to see him succeed but each season seems to be like Ground Hog's day for him.
So what’s left…
Obviously the big names we need back include: AC, Micah, Duke, Lauther, Purfoy and one of Dean or Lacey at MLB. There are also a few less heralded names on my list:
Charbel Dabire – You all know I’m a big fan of his and keeping a young Canadian DT certainly helps us.
Mike Edem – We definitely missed him at safety after he broke his wrist. I know he’s starting to get up there in age but he’s a versatile guy and as much as Purfioy can play anywhere, our secondary plays best with Edem at safety and Purifoy at HB.
Elie Bouka – Durability is his main issue. But when healthy he can play multiple spots in the secondary as a Canadian and make plays like he did in the playoffs.
Shaq Evans/Kyran Moore – Obviously a down year for Shaq but I really think the injury played a bigger role than he let on. A fully healthy Shaq is still a force to be reckoned with. As for Moore he quietly led the CFL in receptions prior to his injury. I know stupid swing passes inflated those numbers a bit but I don’t think he gets the respect he deserves for how good he is yet. If we want to rediscover our offense we need to keep our offensive playmakers, particularly the ones the QB actually trusts.
Justin McInnis/Mitch Picton – Lenius is off to the NFL and while Schaefer-Baker is obviously the future, we are going to need depth. Picton is a reliable token Canadian receiver you can line up on the wide-side. McInnis I think has a higher ceiling but hasn’t stayed on the field long enough to show it.
A dark horse name is Takoby Cofield. He opted to sit out 2021. If I am O’Day I would literally be begging him on my hands and knees to return.
Here’s a few names I would be perfectly ok with letting walk:
Brett Boyko – Other than his passport is there anything of value with him? The only scenario I want him on our team is as the 6th OL. He’s a serviceable injury replacement but the only people who want him starting again are opposing D-lineman.
William Powell – This is not a knock at Powell. Great guy. Has been a solid runner for us (those rare times we actually committed to the run). He will be 34 come next season. At some point we need to go younger there. You’ve seen that Morrow can be a playmaker. And if you can’t recruit an RB in the CFL, you don’t deserve to be a GM.
Isaac Harker – Another player I like as a person but he’s simply not progressing as a QB after 2 full years in the league. Might as well given some other QB prospects the chance as they at least may have a higher ceiling. I think we’ve seen Harker’s ceiling and only Weston Dressler would we able to stand under it.
Ed Gainey – A bit torn on this one. He exceeded my expectations in 2021 and played really good. But you always want to be 1 year too early in letting a guy go than 1 year too late. We would be solid with Purifoy and Webb and HB. So unless he’s coming dirt cheap, I sadly don’t see Gainey as a priority. If this is indeed the end of his Rider career, mad respect for all he accomplished here.