Free agency is now a couple weeks away and the Riders continue to whittle down their list of pending FAs. This past week Frankie Hickson and Charbel Dabire were extended. I have damn near been a day 1 member of the Dabire fan club. He’s a quality Canadian that adds to our D-line rotation. He also boasts a 20 yard kick return to his stat line. Underrated athlete that I’m happy to keep for his 5th season since being drafted in the 5th round. Hickson is a guy I would like to see more of. He’s shown flashes but hasn’t earned more playing time. This will be a make or break season for him. We also released Wieneke which surprised no one.
where does that leave us? Let’s look position by position at what is left for the
Riders to address.
QB – We have our starter in Harris and our 3rd down QB in Pipkin. We need a back-up. I expect we re-sign one of Fine or Dolegala but not both. I still think there is value in continuing to develop Dolegala. He needs a lot of work but maybe a competent coaching staff can help with that. I think Fine lacks the upside potential of Dolegala but also lacks the rollercoaster lows. I think Fine could mark out a “fine” career a back-up (I’m sorry, its Monday, that the best I can do).
– I expect we try and land Olivera or Outlette in free agency. Though if we
miss out or the prices go to high, I could still see Morrow returning as a more
cost effective option.
WR – We need a #1 WR. We all hope that is Bane. If its not him then its not like there is a ton of options in free agency (Schoen if you wanna drop massive $). I honestly don’t care if Tevin Jones is back. He puts up stats but still strikes me as a lazy, selfish player. I think we can do better.
– A lot of concern at this point here. We have a great centre in Godber… and
then? Nothing. Maybe Hawkins comes back healthy and turns out to be awesome.
Maybe Fry finally develops into a rosterable player. But even if both of those
maybes pan out we are still short 2 starters. I would like to see Ferland back.
I would like to see Johnson go be a liability in another town for a while. I
assume Kelly isn’t healthy yet. He was the only good tackle I’ve seen here in 2
years. We need him whenever he is cleared to play. I expect we sign at least
one OL in free agency (though there is not a lot of options) but odds are, the
bulk of the OL solution will need to be built in-house.
DL – Korte Moore looks like a baller. Albright showed some flashes. Brown and Dabire are competent DTs. But this is currently an area of need. Who knows if Mace wants Lanier or Robertson back. There has been much speculation that a DL or two will follow Mace from Toronto (at least one of Barlow, Oakman or Hendrix). I still hope we break the cycle and keep Micah for a second year in a row. He’s a heart and soul player who showed last season he can still contribute.
– I would argue that outside of OL, LB is the biggest area of need on this
team. Reavis can man the cover LB spot but then what? We got nothing. As much
as I love Dean, I’m not sure he’s the answer anymore. As the season went on more and
more of his tackles came after yards we gained. Teitz did not return as the
same player as before his injury. Lots of questions here.
– A relative oasis of stability amid a lot of question marks on defense. We
should be solid with Milligan, Williams, Dalke and Henderson. I could see us
not doing a ton here and relying on drafting and scouting. O’Day has been able
to find us one quality DB per season.
K – We need one. I think we all assume it will be Lauther and all that is delaying it is Lauther figuring out his true value come the negotiation window to ensure he doesn’t take a hometown discount.
Depth – Guys like Lokombo, Okeyka, Awachie, Brescacin and Herdman remain unsigned.
I expect one or two to be retained but change will be coming there.