Riders Remaining Free Agents – Where Will They Go?
Published: Tuesday, Feb 19th 2019, 7:02pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
The First week of CFL Free Agency has come and gone and for the most part, all the big name stars have new contracts. But there are still some big time players available. I would love to go through the whole list, but ain’t nobody (who doesn’t get paid for it) got time for that!
Instead, I will look at the remaining free agents that were Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2018 and where they may end up.
Rob Bagg, WR – I’ve made it clear over the past few years that I’ve moved on from Rob Bagg. Bagg is my all-time favourite Rider, but nostalgia only goes so far for me. It was obvious that the team moved on from him last year, but only brought him back because he won a grievance. There’s a reason he finished the season with exactly zero catches for zero yards… I DO think there is still a spot for him in the CFL if he is willing to be a backup to the backup of the token 7th starting Canadian at wide side receiver… but I just don’t see it happening. See you in the Plaza, Rob. Thanks for a great career in Saskatchewan!
Devon Bailey, WR – I’m surprised to see Bailey still on this list. Not that I think he’s a big time target, but with so few quality Canadian options in the CFL right now at receiver, I would have thought Bailey would have found a spot. Granted, injuries haven’t been kind to him over his career, he has shown he can make plays. Someone will take a gamble on him.
Brandon Bridge, QB – The regression in 2018 for Bridge was remarkable. He looked really good in 2017 and many were clamouring for him to be the franchise QB in Saskatchewan starting in 2018. Turns out, that would have been franchise ruining for a team. Bridge just isn’t starting material. He has all the physical tools to be a VERY good QB in the CFL, but he’s missing it between the ears. He can’t read a defense. Looking back at it, the reason he looked good in 2017 was because a) teams didn’t really have much meaningful film on him and b) he got bailed out by 3 great receivers in Naaman Roosevelt, Duron Carter and Bakari Grant. They made him look better than he is. Even if a Canadian QB spot counts to the ratio, Bridge is a backup at best. He can go out and keep you in a game, but he’s not a long term solution. He’ll find a team.
Mic’hael Brooks, DT – When Brooks came to the Riders partway through the 2018 season, he immediately bolstered the run defense. That’s when the team really took off. Not a superstar anymore, but Brooks is still a solid defender who will join a team partway through 2019 and make a difference.
Jovon Johnson, DB – Technically he’s still a free agent as he hasn’t filed his retirement papers. But as we learned late last week, Jovon took a job at Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio as Defensive Backs Coach. The league’s ONLY defensive back to be named Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year finishes his playing career with 35 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles and 8 touchdowns in 188 games over 12 seasons with Saskatchewan (twice), Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal.
Cameron Marshall, RB – Marshall looked good after he came back from his 2017 injury. But he’s getting up there in age and can’t be relied on to be a team’s #1 running back. He might make his way back into the league in the middle of the season if injuries occur, but I think this might be it for him.
Josiah St. John, OL – I’m actually really surprised St. John is still on this list. Labelled as a bust after being drafted first overall in the 2016 CFL Draft, St. John never lived up to the hype. How often we forget here in Saskatchewan that Chris Best wasn’t a regular starter until his 4th season, which St. John is going into. St. John isn’t going to be in the conversation for Most Outstanding Lineman, but that potential to be a full time starter is there. I hope he gets that shot in Saskatchewan, but I can see other teams kicking the tires on him.
Eddie Steele, DT – Steele has been relegated to rotational work over the last season or so and I think at this point of his career, that’s what suits him the best. I think he still has a few years left in him, but his days as a starter are gone. Great guy and I hope to see him play again somewhere, but it just won’t be with the Riders, if anyone.
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