By the time Tuesday finally gets here all the excitement about the opening of free agency might be gone. Most players have already announced the deals they totally can’t officially sign until Tuesday. It will just be a steady string of press releases making official deals that we’ve know about for days. By this point if you’re a free agent who hasn’t signed you gotta start wondering if there will be any cash left for you.
It's been a busy few days so let’s get you caught up.
Who we kept
The big news of course is that we kept Duke… and paid him handsomely. His one year, $260K contract makes him the highest paid receiver in the CFL. Honestly did not think O’Day would pay him what it would take. I’m happy he did, he just hasn’t been the type to sign these “highest paid” deals. With Duke, Shaq and Moore we have one hell of an offense brewing… assuming we find a way to actually pass block.
We kept Larry Dean. Assuming he’s healthy its an important signing as we need a strong veteran presence in the middle. We also re-signed Pete Robertson. I’m really excited to see what guys like Robertson, Woodard, Lanier and Marino can do in year 2.
Who we lost… it’s a growing list
Gainey is reuniting with Jones in Edmonton (sounds like Mak Henry too). Micah is off to Hamilton. Purifoy is getting paid to return to BC. Powell is going back to Ottawa. Jon Ryan is… well he’s just not coming back.
Gainey is not surprising… though I felt a lot better about letting him go before Purifoy also left. I’m a big Purifoy fan so he’s a loss and his versatility is going to be tough to replace. I enjoy Micah’s 1 year here followed by 1year signing somewhere else pattern and look forward to his return in 2023. He is also a loss but we are betting on AC and the new recruits being ready to carry that line. Powell is not much of a loss. I like him but he is not a good age for an RB and should be replaceable. As for Jon Ryan, I get the sentimental aspect here but from a purely performance standpoint he was a mediocre CFL punter who was among the top paid at his position and was closing in on 40. What part of that equation says re-sign him? He is a great person and his overall football career is damn impressive but he never finished above 5th in net punting as a Rider.
Who we should be targeting
We have 3 primary needs and a couple less pressing ones heading into Tuesday. We still need an offensive tackle. Options are essentially limited to Rykar Matthew (please, please, please) and Justin Renfrow (still better than watching Boyko and Jefferson embarrass themselves). We need a halfback. Options there include DeShaun Amos, Richard Leonard, Nick Taylor, or Jeff Richards. Amos would be the top target. Leonard strikes me as a slightly more likely/affordable. We also need a cover LB. Moncrief, Darby, Cioffi, Unamba and Levels are all options.
Assuming Marino stays healthy we don’t need at DT but it would be nice to add one. Steven Richardson is the top option but he should get paid so a more value option may be Drake Nevis or Woody Baron. Also we will need to add some Canadian special teamers with both Herdmans, Dearborn, Francis and Bouka still unsigned. We do get Lokombo back and there is still the draft but we are a little thin there.
Some chatter linking us to Darnell Sankey. He’s a phenomenal player but I’m sure I see him as priority in terms of spending with Dean and Teitz locked in at LB. I mean I'd take gladly take him but not the biggest area of need.
Be interesting to see what O’Day has up his sleeves tomorrow… though in all likelihood all our signings will be leaked within 5 mins of me posting this if history is any indication.