Monday, January 29, 2024

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Start Your Tampering

February 4th will mark the opening of the negotiation window. Put another way, it will mark the end of illegal tampering and the start of league sanctioned tampering. This all leads up to the opening on February 13.

The Riders stroked some important names of their pending free agent list. They re-signed two important  OL in Ferland and Blake. Ferland has long been our lone beacon of hope in a sea of terrible O-Linemen. He’s only going to improve and if you watched him the few times he got called on as an emergency tackle you saw a versatile and talented OL (who by the way will only turn 27 this season). Blake is over a decade older but is still versatile and talented. He might only have a year left in him (and maybe its only providing depth) but he’s a proven leader and we need that to rebuild this group. Lauther also re-signed which is hardly a shock to anyone.

What likely was a shock was a 2 year deal for Fine. While I’m sure many would have preferred Dolegala, here’s what it boiled down to. Dolegala likely will have other people bidding for his services. Fine probably didn’t. Also, Fine lacks the fanfare of Dolegala (what with not being a literal giant) but its not like Jake, you know, won a lot. Here’s some stats:

-        Yards per throw: Fine 7.7, Dolegala 7.9

-        Completion %: Fine 69.1%, Dolegala 64.9%

-        Wins: Fine 1, Dolegala 2

I’m not saying that Fine is the next superstar but for likely less money, he is of comparable value as a back-up.

Now let’s take a look position by position at the Riders’ needs and potential targets.

QB – Doubt we do much here as we already have Harris, Fine and Pipkin. Market is also pretty thin. It’s either try and bring back Dolegala or go for Arbuckle. Reality is QB is likely addressed through recruiting.

RB – Over half the league’s RBs are hitting FA all at once: Olivera, Fletcher, Stanback, Devonte Williams, Ouelette, Carey and Morrow. I still think we are targeting a big splash like Olivera or Ouelette but once people blow their money on those 2, there will be some insane value on the remaining guys, like say bringing back Morrow (who I am fond of) or even Williams.

WR – We need a #1 WR and its not a great year to be in the market for that. I am still hoping we are pushing for Bane. If not him then Schoen is the only other real bona fide #1.  I could see us targeting Coxie.

OL – While there are some good OLs slated to hit FA (Gagnon, Steward, Ciraco, Sceviour, Knevel, Norman), our issue is that we need tackles and they are not hitting the market. Only tackle to keep an eye on is Hardrick. I don’t see us landing him but you never know (recall he had him way back in the day and let him go). One reunion that could make sense is Bladek. He would add some nice depth to our interior and a little nastiness.

LB – I think this is our biggest question mark heading into the season. We have Reavis at cover LB… and then? No one. Some cold water was doused on the ridiculous theory that we would just pillage the Argos when McManis re-signed. There are still some quality names out there that I would have interest in. One in particular is Jameer Thurman. Stampeder connection to Mace and a guy you can build a LB core around. Others include: Avery Williams, Jonathan Jones, Adarius Pickett, Micah Awe (just kidding, screw that head targeting yet somehow un-suspendable dirty bastard), Titus Wall and Josh Woods.

DB – Ironically this is probably the deepest position in free agency but one of our lesser needs. I would love to find a lockdown corner to replace Marshall. Obviously Jamal Peters comes to mind. But you could also look at Cariel Brooks, Daniel Roberson, Demario Houston or Marcus Sayles.

DL – Next to LB this is our next biggest need. I still fully expect us to land one of Brandon Barlow, Shawn Oakman, or Dewayne Hendrix. But I think we need at least 2 DL signings to feel good about that group. Malik Carney, Dylan Wynn, Jackson Jeffcoat and Jake Thomas are of interest. I am still tooting the “bring back Micah” horn and wouldn’t mind seeing Robertson/Lanier back but Lanier is likely gone and Robertson is a good buddy of his so odds are not great.


Anonymous said...

Covered all the bases. Unless all we sign is Argos, we should have enough cash for either Oliveira or Schoen. Hurts Bombers in the process. The Bombers, with a reported $285K on Kenny & $200K & a bit (Dave Naylor) due Demski, are likely out on Schoen unless you want to put about $800K into 3 receivers. The Bombers since Harris arrived have almost always had the most rushing attempts in the league - that's their identity. IMO they go hard on Oliveira & he ends up there again.

We don't need Oliveira as much as we need Schoen. Morrow is a much cheaper option. Let the games begin.

Ethan said...

I wouldn't put too much stock in getting a windfall of Argos. If we get 1 or 2 big names that would be great. The exodus in 2016 netted us Kendial Lawrence, Andrew Jones, Shamawd Chambers & Otha Foster in Feb 2016. Only Foster really became a VG player for us. Jefferson arrived from the NFL in Sept 2016, having announced his team by wearing an Esk sweater & later going to the Riders when Jones came up with more bucks. As we have seen with Lawler, Lewis & now MBT, Jones is prepared to go a long way dollar wise for what he wants.

There will likely be big $$ on the table for players we are seeking. Mace, notwithstanding, we're going to have to show them the money.

Rider Prophet said...

Man I am getting great at this. Post that I don't expect Lanier back Monday morning and he's signed by noon. haha

Anon - I do think the Bombers want to keep Olivera but I doubt will be the highest bidder. But other teams will need to be significantly more than them (not just a bit) to pry him away. Honestly I'm not a big fan of spending huge $$$ on RBs. Morrow/Hickson can be very effective at a fraction of the Olivera or Ouelette cost.

Ethan - Ah the good ol FA windfall of '16. Thank god for Otha Foster. I believe Curtis Steele was in there too.

Dan said...

Thank you……I agree on not over-spending on a free agent RB. Would be happy with Olivera or Ouelette but those are not the key dollars to create a winner in Sask.

Nice analysis Prophet!