Monday, February 5, 2024

Monday Morning Sentimonies: The Waiting Game

In the week leading up to the negotiation window, the Riders had a huge week in terms of re-signing their own guys. We extended Milligan for an extra year (by far our best DB). We retained Lanier and Bane (arguably our top pending free agents on either side of the ball). We also extended Nelson Lokombo (not nearly as notable as their other 3 but Canadian depth is crucial and for an organization that has struggled to retain and develop draft picks at times Lokombo makes it 7 of our last 9 1st/2nd/3rd round picks still with the team). 

When healthy and not stupidly being played out of position at D-end, Lanier is among the most disruptive DTs in the league. I think Mace is a coach who can get Lanier to that next level of excellence. Bane is simply a massive piece to keep. Look at what he did last season and factor in the carousel of back-up QBs and underqualified OC he had to deal with. I don’t think we have seen his ceiling yet. Farhan Lalji reports his deal is around $175,000. That is really good value when you consider some other WR salary (i.e. Eugene Lewis $300k+, Rhyme $240K). 

As of right now, O’Day is busy legally tampering. We may yet see some of our guys re-sign after seeing the open market isn’t as lucrative as they hoped but for the most part this is the time to attract new guys to the team. 

Here’s what I see as our top area of needs.


1.     Linebackers

You can debate the quality, but at pretty much every position the Riders could field a team today if they needed to. The glaring exception is LB. We got nobody other than Reavis. If you trust your scouting you could maybe fill one spot with a new player but not 2. Obviously the top target should be Jameer Thurman. I expect us also to kick the tires on Adarius Pickett, Ben Hladik and Adam Auclair (drafting his brother didn’t pan out, maybe we can get some games out of an Auclair after all). I honestly would not rule out a Larry Dean return if we miss out on some of the top end targets but that is definitely not the preferred route.


2.     Offensive Tackle

As of today the starters would be Hawkins and Council (maybe old man Blake). So unless we get some upgrades here they might as well just pre-reserve a hospital bed for Trevor Harris. Biggest name on the market is Hardrick but he’s the only legit starter hitting the market so he will be fielding multiple calls. Trevon Tate and Tyrone Riley would be your other options. I am still holding out hope that Colin Kelly returns once he is healthy.


3.     Cornerback

We have Milligan, Henderson, Williams and Dalke. I expect Williams to take a step forward in year 2 but Henderson has always been inconsistent and even with him penciled in as a starter you need one more guy. Best case scenario is convincing Jamal Peters to follow Mace here. Or if you wanted to spend a bit less Robertson Daniel. Other names I’d be calling include Demario Houston, Ciante Williams and Damon Webb (I always felt we gave up on him too early).


4.     Interior OL Depth

Godber, Ferland and Blake (Assuming we aren’t forced to bump him out to tackle) should be solid on the inside but when (not if) we need someone else to fill in for a short or long term absence it gets scary again. The organization seems to love Logan Bandy, though I’m not seeing in him what they are yet. We are waiting for Fry to finally take the next step. And maybe Zerr gets his career on track (being dumped by 2 teams in 2 seasons is not a great omen for a high draft pick OL). Bottom line we need reinforcements and while logic would dictate we get some of that through the draft, O’Day has been about has willing to draft OL early as I am forgo my morning coffee. Geoff Gray, Sean Jamieson and Phillip Norman are options.


5.     D-line

My sense is that the team is banking on some combination of Albright and Cox to be able to lock down one DE spot. We have Lanier and Brown inside. With Korte-Moore and Dabire to rotate. At a minimum we need another DE to replace Robertson and likely more depth at DT with both Christmas and Micah not yet re-signed. I don’t see us paying for Betts (with other more pressing needs) so guys like Dewayne Hendrix, Sean Oakman, Ricky Walker, Dylan Wynn, Brandon Barlow and Malik Carney become the target list. Whoever we add I just hope it turns out better than last year’s D-line splash… Stefen Banks.

I know I left RB off the list. We will likely add one but its not really a pressing need and with so many hitting the market all at once, there will be a decent one available regardless of how long we wait.


Anonymous said...

That O-line is still awful. Hope Harris has been doing sprint training already

Anonymous said...

With Pickett apparently off the market so early he sets the market @ SAM. I expect Burke paid him a lot more than the top guy, Moncrief, got @ $145K last year.

Riders seem to be hot after Stanback but BC, Wpg, Toronto all really need one of the top 2 guys & will be in the mix for Stanback if that falls through. That's the big 3 & a piece badly needed for a CUP run. Still, IMO Riders have a good crack at him.

What about receivers? I like our top 2 but IMO need one more big signing there. Schoen IMO is likely going to be offered big bucks by Ottawa & Hamilton (if they can't sign White). I don't know that we want to throw the kind of money required there.

I agree that we really have to address the OT, DL & LB positions.

Anonymous said...

Sources say Hardrick has agreed to terms with Riders. If so, big signing.