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Riders Busy on Day 1 of CFL Free Agency

Published: Wednesday, Feb 14th 2024, 12:02am

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)



Tuesday was the official start of CFL Free Agency and thanks to the Ed Hervey Tampering Window, we knew most of the moves the Riders were making today. Still, it was a big day for General Manager Jeremy O’Day and Head Coach Corey Mace as their new look roster is now taking shape. Let’s recap today’s moves.


First, we’ll look at the offence. The amount of love that new running back A.J. Ouellette is getting from Rider fans brings a tear to my eye. We’re in for a treat with him and I’m ridiculously excited for this move. It fills a need and we have a marketing dream with him. It’s a perfect match!

Joining Ouellette is O-Lineman Jermarcus Hardrick. He’s going to bring a nasty, physical style to the trenches that the team has been missing for years. He fills another need at Right Tackle and will be a great addition to the offense.

Lastly on O, we get American Fullback Clint Ratkovich. He was with the Atlanta Falcons in the 2023 preseason and just going off of some highlights posted, he’s a strong, physical runner. Whether or not he makes the team, it’s clear that this team is going to run the ball and try and wear you out.



On defense, a plethora of moves… and let’s be honest, the team needed to shake things up on that side of the ball. Up front in the trenches, Malik Carney joins the team at DE. He had 5 sacks with Hamilton last year, but none after week 8. Hopefully a change of scenery is what the doctor ordered.

Replacing Larry Dean in the middle of the defense will be former Ticat & Stampeder LB Jameer Thurman. Another star that has ties with Coach Mace. I’m looking forward to seeing him anchor the defense and continue being a top tier player in the league.

Canadian depth also added in the linebacking group as the team re-signed Justin Herdman-Reed. And for the second time, his brother Jordan Herdman-Reed will be with the green and white as he comes back over from the Stampeders.

In the defensive backfield, cornerback Jalon Edwards-Cooper is coming over from the Lions. He had a very underrated season last year, with one interception, but more importantly, didn’t give up a touchdown according to Pro Football Focus. He takes over the Nic Marshall spot in the secondary and will be an important piece for the team’s success.


We’ll see more moves in the next few days for sure, but as for Day 1, I have to give the Riders a solid grade of A-. They filled needs with some high profile players and I really do think the team got significantly better today.


To recap all of the Day 1 Rider free agency moves:

IN: RB A.J. Ouellette (Toronto), FB Clint Ratkovich, OL Jermarcus Hardrick (Winnipeg), DE Malik Carney (Hamilton), LB Jameer Thurman (Hamilton), LB Jordan Herdman-Reed (Calgary), LB Justin Herdman-Reed, DB Jalon Edwards-Cooper (B.C.)

OUT: WR Tevin Jones (Montreal), RB Jamal Morrow (Calgary), FB Albert Awachie (Toronto), OL Evan Johnson (Hamilton), LB Micah Teitz (Calgary), Pete Robertson (BC)


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