The ink hadn’t dried on the news release stating the Riders had traded offensive lineman Joe McGrath back to the Edmonton Eskimos when the questions started? Why is the team doing this? Did McGrath see the writing on the wall? Was he homesick? McGrath had stated it was dream to play for the Riders so what changed. The Moose Jaw native will surely explain his decision as to why he asked the football club for a trade, but Rider fans should be encouraged over the fact they are well set up for the next two years in the Canadian draft because of this deal and another one earlier this season.
It is no secret that a CFL team is only as good as its Canadian talent. The Riders already possess one of the top Canadian units in the league with guys like Schultz, Makowsky, Fantuz and Clermont. Wednesday’s deal with the Eskimos will only strengthen this pool some more when it comes time for the 2010 Canadian college draft.
The Riders still own their first pick in that draft and with Wednesday’s trade, they now own Edmonton’s. The team conditionally acquired Winnipeg’s first-round pick in the 2010 or 2011 draft after the trade that sent receiver Adarius Bowman to the Bombers. The status of those selections hinge on the performance of quarterback Stefan LeFors, who the Blue Bombers acquired from the Eskimos. Depending on the numbers Lefors puts up for Winnipeg this season, their first rounder will go to Edmonton leaving the Riders with the option of trading first round selections with Winnipeg in 2011 or taking Winnipeg’s 2nd round pick both in 2010 and 2012.
If LeFors has a big season, Winnipeg’s first-rounder would go to Edmonton leaving the Riders with the option of trading first-round selections with Winnipeg in 2011 or taking the Bombers' second-rounders in 2010 and 2012.
It means if the cards fall the right way that the Riders could be selecting three times in the first round when the 2010 draft hits. Its anyone’s guess at this time. What is known is that the Riders did the right thing in allowing McGrath to leave as having some negativity in the dressing room would not benefit anyone, and that getting a first round pick is a shrewd deal indeed.
For those who criticized the organization for their last trade with Edmonton that saw Kitwana Jones go to the Eskimos, they must praise the football club for this trade as it sets them up well in future years when it comes to maintaining that Canadian talent.