Free Agency – Day 1 Recap
Published: Wednesday, Feb 14th 2018, 3:02pm
by: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
Let’s recap the first 24 hours of Free Agency in Ridernation:
OL Travis Bond
OL Dan Clark
LB Sam Hurl
RB Jerome Messam
DL Zack Evans
FB Spencer Moore
WR Nic Demski
DL Ese Mrabure
DL AC Leonard
OL Derek Dennis
DL Antonio Longino
The first thing that pops out to me is the fact that 5 of the 6 signings from the first 24 hours are National players. Of all of our signings thus far, only Travis Bond is an import/international.
Travis Bond is a quality international offensive lineman, who spent his entire career playing guard. He is also only one year removed from being a CFL all-star. Having said that, the Riders currently have Peter Dyakowski and Brendon Labatte at the guard position, and it is hard to justify sitting a quality Canadian and replacing them with an international. Even if that international happens to be a recent all-star. One of 2 things is likely to happen, based on this signing. Either we see a trade/release of Peter Dyakowski, or one of Labatte or Bond make the move out to left tackle. This suggests our offensive line in 2018 will look like this:
Labatte – Bond – Clark – Dyakowski/Bladek – Coleman
Campbell – Bond – Clark – Labatte – Coleman
Interesting times are certainly ahead along the offensive line.
Sam Hurl is a quality pickup for the Roughriders. He will improve the depth behind Henoc Muamba at MLB and add a good special team player to the roster.
Zack Evans was another smart pickup, adding quality to an already terrifying defensive line. I’m not sure how an offensive coordinator game plans against a line that looks like this:
Jefferson – Evans – James – Hughes
If the front four remains healthy, they should be able to get consistent pressure from the 3 and 4 man rushes that Chris Jones is so very fond of.
Spencer Moore was a smart re-signing for the Riders. You can never have too many quality Canadian special teamers, plus his blocking as a FB is top notch.
Then there is Jerome Messam. This move raises more questions than answers in my opinion. We have 3 import RBs under contract (Marshall, Richardson, Thigpen) and our 2 Canadian RBs from last season (Lafrance and Morris) hit the market yesterday. Lafrance was signed by his hometown Bombers and Morris remains unsigned as of now. Bringing in Messam makes sense if you have decent depth behind him. Right now, the Riders don’t have that. This suggests another move (Augustin or Morris) or a plan to run out 8 Canadians, in case Messam does get hurt. Will be interesting to see what happens at Running Back in the coming weeks
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