Given that most people’s Christmas vacation ended last week, I suppose its time to end mine. Fashionably late is about one point for me… well maybe not the fashionable part but for sure the second part.
Anywho, we are in the calm before the storm when it comes to the CFL offseason. Free agency opens in just over a month. NFL teams can start signing CFL players as of today. We have made a few re-signings but the real work starts now that it’s a new year and we are dealing with 2023 cap money (as you may have surmised we had very little 2022 cap space left to re-sign guys before the end of the year).
NFL signings will be the first domino to drop. I hope you have come to terms with the fact that Kian Schaefer-Baker is headed south. He has worked out for 9 teams so far (Jak, Pit, Ind, TB, LV, Min, Den, NE and Cin). He's behind only Nathan Rourke in terms of potential NFL demand. I just hope he signs with a team that a) will actually give him a shot and b) I’m not conditioned to dislike (i.e. NE). Other than Rourke (who is also headed south) other CFLers who have earned multiple workouts and could potentially get an NFL shot include: Tyrell Ford (6 workouts), Dalton Shoen (3), Jamal Peters (2), Jevon Cottoy (2), Matthieu Betts (2) and Tre Ford (2).
In terms of free agency we have a month to re-sign our pending free agents before they hit the open market. Anthony Lanier needs to be the top priority, as I have said before. Now he did cryptically tweet out “free agent” a while ago, so that doesn’t do much to give me confidence there. I know that the internet is nothing if not 100% accurate and always to be believed but we shall have to see. Others we better be trying hard to woo include Darnell Sankey, Pete Robertson, Larry Dean and Jeremy Clarke. We also should be attempting to get at least one of our receivers locked up. Currently Tevin Jones is the top WR we have under contract. Duke’s time here is probably done. But getting at least one of Kyran Moore and Shaq would be nice. Also Mitch Picton is an underrated contributor on offense and I would love to see him stay.
Once free agency opens the story of course turns to 2 things. The fact that we lack both a QB and O-line. Here’s the problem though. There is no miracle cure for either likely to be available come February. At QB your options will be Matta Schiltz, Nick Arbuckle and MacLeod Bethel Thompson. Add Dane Evans as a dark horse option. None of those exactly scream “saviour of the franchise”. This of course increases the odds of an awkward reunion with Fajardo as both sides lack better options and hook up again like desperate drunk exes at last call.
I realize this is not exactly the most uplifting post to start a new year with. But short of outright lies I could not find a way to make it rosier. I’m going with the approach of setting my expectations for 2023 so low that they can’t possibly disappoint me and any achievements no matter how minor is a bonus.