Top 10 moments from the Riders Offseason
Published: Wednesday, Apr 25th 2018, 10:04am
by: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
With May just around the corner, and Riders minicamp under way, I’m proud to announce that we have made it. Ridernation, we have gotten through yet another terribly long CFL off season. I’m here to break down the months that were, in Saskatchewan. I thought I would take this opportunity to break down the top 10 stories from the Roughriders offseason, in no order:
Riders sign Brandon Bridge
Fairly early in the offseason, the Riders announced the re-signing of Canadian pivot, Brandon Bridge. When this move was made, many fans assumed we were set at QB for the 2018 season with Bridge behind center. Bridge showed great potential throughout the 2017 season, and many were excited to see what he would do with the keys to the shiny car that Chris Jones was building. Alas it was not meant to be because….
Riders trade for Zach Collaros
Two weeks to the day that the Riders announced Bridges signing, they traded for MOP caliber QB Zach Collaros from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in exchange for the 10th overall pick in the 2018 CFL draft. While the Riders will do the usual “there is an open competition at camp” thing that teams always do, we all know Zach Collaros will be under center for the home opener on June 15th. If he can regain his 2015 form, he might just be the piece that puts us over the top. If he can’t, Bridge will be there looking over his shoulder, waiting for his opportunity.
In fun news, I actually predicted that we would make a play for Zach Collaros early in the offseason.
Riders re-sign Duron Carter
One thing stood out to me prior to last season, among many others. We had Cliffy D from the Als Flight Deck (@CliffyD) on prior to the season to talk about the Als, but we got to talking about WR Duron Carter. He told us, straight up, we would love the guy. Turns out, he was right. It didn’t take long for Duron to have Ridernation wrapped around his fingers, with his entertaining play on the field, and his wild antics off it. There was talk of Duron heading south to the NFL after his stellar season, but in late January the Riders announced the re-signing of the star receiver through the 2018 season.
Duron Carter Gets Arrested
Within two weeks of the Riders announcing the signing of Duron Carter, we learned that he was facing two separate charges of marijuana possession. While one charge was for possession over 30g, we since learned that it was a case of pot cookies. At a time when it is when, and not if, pot becomes legal, I don’t have an issue with players using marijuana. I do, however, have an issue with players doing stupid things like carrying pot through an airport. Even more so when you were already arrested earlier this offseason and it’s a foregone conclusion that you’ll be screened in the future.
Riders Beef Up Defensive Line
Apparently, news came in pairs two weeks apart in this offseason. First Bridge/Collaros, then Duron/Duron, and finally the Riders making 2 separate moves to add some more talent alongside Willie Jefferson. First, they traded Vernon Adams away to Hamilton in exchange for All-Star DE Charleston Hughes. Then, two weeks later they signed veteran DT Zack Evans. The Regina-born Evans will hold up the middle beside Nick James in a defensive line that can only be described (on paper) as monstrous.
CFL Week in Winnipeg was a Hit
Kudos go out to the entire CFL team for making the 2nd annual Mark’s CFL Week in Winnipeg a success. This year’s event seemed catered much more to the younger market, which is a great decision. The young kids of today will be the season ticket holders of tomorrow. The players invited certainly seemed to have a solid time, and were very enthusiastic in interviews. We will be sharing many of those interviews with you throughout the year. I look forward to seeing where year 3 ends up.
Riders release Peter Dyakowski
This is one of those moves that many from the Podcast crew expected/predicted, but were still shocked when it came down. As soon as the Riders made moves to get Zach Collaros and Charleston Hughes, you knew there would be moves to cut salary. With Dariusz Bladek exploding on to the scene in 2017 as the 6th OL, this move was only a matter of time. We certainly wish Peter all the best wherever he ends up, just not against the Riders.
Riders release Henoc Muamba/Derek Dennis
Just like Peter Dyakowski’s release above, both Dennis and Muamba were released to cut salary cap. Derek Dennis fit in great with the fans, but was never a good fit on the field with the Riders, and he would likely be the first to admit it. He will likely find his feet again in Calgary in a familiar system that seemed to fit his style better.
To me, at the time, I was more surprised to see Henoc Muamba cut. Salary aside, he performed well last season, and would have looked good sitting between Sam Eguaveon and Derrick Moncrief, but his pay check was way too high to fit under the current Cap model. When we didn’t have a high priced QB, we could afford to pay out a little extra, but now we must be smarter with cap dollars.
Riders sign Jake Harty away from Montreal
As you heard here first on PifflesPodcast.com, Jake Harty turned down what was already apparently a done deal with Montreal, to sign in Saskatchewan. Sources say the amount he was originally offered by Montreal was no longer the offer on the table when he went to put pen to paper. Chris Jones swooped in and picked up the talented, young Canadian WR. He will do well, working behind/alongside Rob Bagg and Devon Bailey.
Extending Chris Jones’ contract by another year
Does anything more really need to be said here? 2 years ago, when Chris Jones cut players like Weston Dressler and John Chick, fans were calling for his head. Now, outside of one fan at the CFL Road Trip with Randy Ambrosie, fans are ready to build a statue to him. The turnaround from the 2015 team, to the 2018 team is clear as day, and expectations this season are higher than they have been during his tenure. Extending Chris Jones was a must, if we want to stay amongst the top dogs in the CFL.