Free Agency 2019 – Roughriders Edition
Published: Wednesday, Feb 6th 2019, 10:02am
By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
With CFL free agency less than a week away, the Saskatchewan Roughriders still have many unsigned free agents. In fact, they sit at 19 unsigned free agents as of right now, including the likes of Naaman Roosevelt, Willie Jefferson, Tobi Antigha and 2/3s of their 2018 QBs. The Riders may have to look to the free agent market to fill some potential holes in their roster.
Last season, the Riders were a legit QB away from being a Grey Cup contender. As we head in to free agency, they still have the core of the defensive that led the team to a 12-6 record in 2018. Where do they need to improve (either in free agency or players from camps) and who do I think the Riders should target.
As nice as it would be to see the Riders target Mike Reilly, and I’m sure they will send him an offer, the odds of seeing Reilly in Green and White are somewhere between slim and none in my opinion. The Riders currently have 1 quarterback under contract for 2019 (David Watford) and will need a couple of guys to fill the spots that will vacated shortly by Brandon Bridge and Zach Collaros. Preference here would be Trevor Harris and Kevin Glenn to fill the one/two spots on the roster, but my expectation is still Jonathan Jennings. Don’t be surprised if Zach Collaros takes a pay cut and returns to Saskatchewan for 2019. In a “chaos causing” selection, I would love to see the Riders sign Bo Levi Mitchell, but I know that isn’t going to happen. Stamps fans would be angry, and the way that a ton of Rider fans would have to suddenly turn in to BLM fans would be amazing to watch.
Who (in order): Mike Reilly, Trevor Harris, Jonathon Jennings, Kevin Glenn (backup), Zach Collaros (backup)
While not a “positional need” per say, Jefferson gets his own paragraph on free agent needs for Saskatchewan. Willie was a key part of our successful 2018 defense, and with most of that defense locked up for 2019, the Riders need to do what they can to keep the dominating defensive end in Saskatchewan for the foreseeable future.
While the Riders had a solid unit in 2018, there are certainly some question marks at this point. Former 1st overall pick Josiah St John is a pending free agent and we still don’t know the health status of Dariusz Bladek.
Who (in order): Sukh Chung and SirVincent Rogers
Wide Receiver – The Roughriders saw some quality young guys step up in 2019, including Jordan Williams-Lambert, KD Cannon and Shaq Evans. Unfortunately, Williams-Lambert is headed to the Chicago Bears, and Cannon/Evans likely don’t fit the #1 WR mode at this point in their careers. Add in that we haven’t heard anything regarding 2018 free agent signing Jake Harty, and things are looking interesting in the receiving corps. Outside of QB, this is the #1 spot the Riders need to find some help if they want to improve upon last season’s performance. The Riders need a legit #1 receiver, unless they convince Naaman Roosevelt to stay. Even then, they may still want to add another piece here to give them a threatening receiving corps like they had in 2017.
Who (in order): Naaman Roosevelt, Bryan Burnham, Greg Ellingson (especially if the Riders do land Trevor Harris), Devier Posey, and Duron Carter. The last one isn’t going to happen, given his departure from here last season and his apparently opinion of Jeremy O’Day, but there’s no arguing that Duron Carter is one of the premiere pass catchers in the CFL.
In the end, if ever there was a season that you needed to add multiple players/positions across free agency, this is certainly the one to do it. It’s not often you see 5 of the previous seasons starting QBs hit free agency. There are certainly moves to be made to put this Rider team over the top as we head in to the 2019 season. Who do you think the Riders will target?