--The question will not go away and really it isn't all that surprising. Over the last week and a half, I have been on holidays. While it was a staycation (aka: not wearing pants and sleeping in until 930-10), when I did go out, the question asked was the same. The question being "Who do you think is the Riders QB next year?"
Like you, I don't have the answer to that and I don't know if the Riders brain-trust knows the answer yet either. Many want the team to go all-in on Mike Reilly knowing they are "that" close to hoisting the Grey Cup high again. I don't think Reilly will be the guy, and I don't know if they are as close as what you may think.
That isn't an indictment on the team as a whole. I just think the CFL landscape could have a dramatic change and shift to it because of the list of free agents out there. I knew there would be a lot when the league released its list, but 322 players was jaw-dropping. A CFL game-day roster has 46 players on it. 46 x 9 = 414. Safe to say fans are going to need a weekly if not a daily guide once free agency begins to see who goes where.
That being said, the Riders aren't in as bad a spot as other teams with only 27 players to re-sign. However, that list is a daunting one with several key players on the list. Guys like Jefferson, Roosevelt, Eguavoen, Evans and Edem. Truthfully, I would be shocked if Jefferson is here for training camp as I think he is more than deserving of another NFL opportunity, I believe Eguavoen could get one as well. You also have to figure there are some guys who won't even get an offer
All teams have a huge job in front of them in not only retaining, but improving their squads. Obviously, there are some on all teams where an offer will not be made, but the entire scope of the league could and very will be thrown out of whack with all the roster movement that could and will be made
--As you know, Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge are also free agents which brings me back to the QB question. The Riders have a lot of options out there and it would appear as if the early favourite if not Reilly is Jonathan Jennings.
He said this week he is going to test free agency. How much of a market will there be for a guy who clearly needs to hit the reset button. Can the Riders afford to roll the dice on Jennings and if so, at what cost. The returns at the QB position did not fare the way the club would have liked it to last season for a variety of reasons. They need a return this year, but the salary that would be paid to Jennings would be far less than the one paid to Collaros.
As for Collaros, is he really out of the equation? He is at the price-tag he came with last year, but he can't expect to get that this year from whatever team he ends up with can he? Does he even sign with someone considering his health? If the Riders could get him back at 200 or 225 thousand, would that be good? The other question is what do you do with David Watford? He is under contract and I would think the team would like to continue developing him. I still like the Nick Marshall idea as well, but I don't see it happening.
--As mentioned, there are 322 free agents in the CFL. The number won't be that high by the time the actual dates come around, but is that a good number for a nine-team league. It certainly brings parity into the equation, but its hard for fan bases to connect with these guys. As I have said previously, I am all for the one-year contracts as you basically get paid for performance, but that number is startling. Some have said it is because of the CBA and that this is an anomaly. I hope that is the case.
--I have no idea where the Riders are going to go when it comes to free agency, but if he becomes open, I would love to see Weston Dressler back in Rider green. While Chris Jones has made many moves deemed unpopular, the one move he has made that still sticks in the craw of many was the one to let Dressler go. I don't need to tell Rider Nation about what Dressler is all about and I think the Bombers fan-base are hoping he can come to terms with them and not go to free agency. Weston is on the downside of his career, but he still has gas left in the tank. He would be an excellent teacher to a young group of receivers. It is probably a pipe-dream, but one can wish.
--The William Nylander situation came to an end Saturday afternoon with the forward signing with the Leafs. There is no doubt he makes an already strong Leafs team that much better, but I can't help think that they caved in on this one. A six year deal at just under 7 million for Nylander is high considering Toronto will have some major deals to make with guys like Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews coming up. They held the cards here.
If Nylander is getting a deal just under seven million a season, what will guys like Brayden Point, Mikko Rantanen and Patrik Laine receive. I would take all three ahead of him along with the trio of David Pastrnak, Johnny Gaudreau and Nathan McKinnon who are getting less now. A deal similar to McKinnon's (6.3 mill) should have been Toronto's take-it or leave-it offer. Is there that much of a difference between 6.5 and 6.9 million. It might in the long run. In the end, the player wins.
--How is it the NHL is not even going to have a hearing with Tom Wilson after his hit on a New Jersey player Friday night? The Capitals forward is just getting off a long suspension for a similar hit and now this? The guy is a good player, but he isn't learning what is a safe hit and what isn't. Once again, leagues can talk all they want about player safety, but it isn't happening. This is the latest example.
--How is it the NFL allowed KC running back Kareem Hunt to play a down this season after a domestic violence incident that they knew about in February? Those that are upset with the Chiefs have every right to be. How can the NFL turn its head to this especially after the Ray Rice story? Again, what a league says and what a league does are two completely different things.
-How many Packers fans are celebrating the firing of Mike McCarthy this morning? I know of a few I'm guessing Aaron Rodgers isn't even disappointed at what has transpired.
--I am somehow thinking Tennessee Titans fan and Sportscage co-host Darren Dupont was a myriad of emotions on Sunday. Darren is one of many who are in Nashville for the Sportscage trip so he had the chance to watch his team live. What a game as the Titans scored late in the 4th to beat the Jets in a nail-biter. I hope his hair stayed in place throughout. RP and Darren will do the Cage Tuesday and Wednesday from Nashville, but you're stuck with me for the other three days.
-Former Regina Rams DL Akiem Hicks scored what I think is his first pro TD in the Bears overtime loss to the Giants. He did as at a running back as the Bears went back in time and made Hicks a modern-day William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Considering where Hicks went to school, should he now be known as "The Freezer"
--Another solid weekend of basketball at the U of R as both the men's and women's teams swept Grant McEwan. Both are sitting in good position going into the second half of the season. As I have said before, the women's team is what you would expect from Dave Taylor, but the men's team has really turned a corner with Steve Burrows. While there are many impressive things about the squad, the thing that impresses me is its local guys like the Hillis brothers, the Barnard brothers, Brayden Kuski and Carter Millar getting it done. Its great to see and should give graduating Grade 12 players an easy decision to make when it comes to where they want to continue playing the game.
--That's all I got. Have a great week!