Riders Free Agency - Who's Next?
Published: Wednesday, Feb 5th 2020, 6:02am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Now that the Riders have signed star LB Cameron Judge to a new 1 year deal, the focus of the team now shifts to the next free agent name on their list.
While we hope that name is Shaq Evans, I'm going to omit him here. Reason being, I truly believe he'll be back. He's spent a lot of time in Regina in the offseason and now has a pretty strong tie to the city. Unless it's the NFL calling, he's not going anywhere.
Looking at the list of Riders free agents, there isn't one name that screams out to me that he MUST BE SIGNED. It'd be nice to have some of the names back from the list of 19 other free agents, I think that the team is in a good enough position that they can all walk and the team will be fine. So, I'll look elsewhere.
Obviously Willie Jefferson is at the top of the list. The 2019 Most Outstanding Defensive Player wreaks havoc on a game, but comes at a big co$t. Sure, you could let Micah Johnson go and put that money towards Jefferson, but is it worth it for a rental? Jefferson is likely only going to sign a 1 year deal wherever he goes and then we have this problem again next year. The Riders currently have AC Leonard, Charleston Hughes and Chad Geter at DE, so I don't see Jefferson as this big need for the team.
O-Lineman Sean McEwan would be a GREAT addition to the Riders, but he's from Calgary and the Stamps have already offered him a deal. I think he likely goes there, so on searching I go.
There are names here and there from the Montreal Alouettes and Ottawa Redblacks that could fill some spots on the Riders roster, but nothing that is a must sign. Toronto? WR Derel Walker is the obvious name, but assuming Shaq Evans is back (as is Naaman Roosevelt), I don't see where Walker fits in, especially with the salary he would command.
Out west, Juwan Brescacin would be my personal pick that I want the Riders to go after, but I don't see it happening. Calgary will likely keep him around and with the Riders drafting Justin McInnis and Brayden Lenius last year, I don't see them targeting a Canadian receiver, no matter how good he is.
The guy the Riders NEED to make their top priority now is Edmonton Eskimos LB Larry Dean. With the Riders uncertainty at linebacker, Dean makes the most sense. It sounds like Solomon Elimimian isn't coming back, Derrick Moncrief went to the Las Vegas Raiders, leaving only Cameron Judge as the incumbant starter. Sean Idowu could take one of those spots as he did play meaningful time last year, but Dean would bring that immediate veteran impact that the Riders lack in the LB group right now.
I've gone through some scenarios where the Riders starting LB group comes from within and not signing any free agents, but that leaves the DB group with a bit of uncertainty and I'm not willing to lose that continuity with only 2 DB's returning to their spot from last year.
Make it happen O'Day! Go get Larry Dean and let's make that push to the 2020 Grey Cup! The next week is going to be CRAZY in the CFL and I can't wait to see what happens!