Riderville Roundup – February 11
Published: Sunday, Feb 11th 2024, 9:02am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Last Sunday the CFL’s Negotiation Window (the Ed Hervey window, if you will) opened up and the CFL made a TON of noise this past week! As expected, the Rider news was plenty and I’ll run over the reported signings in this article. Now, it’s still possible that players back out of these deals, but not likely. Free Agents can’t officially sign deals with new teams until Tuesday.
First, we look at the signings that were made official. Let’s start with the defensive backfield, where the Riders re-signed their own pending free agent Godfrey Onyeka to a one year deal. Good depth signing, great on special teams, has a Canadian passport. Always need guys like that around. Also a newcomer to the secondary is Nick Nelson. He was drafted in the NFL a few years ago and hasn’t seen much action. He played a couple of games for the Raiders in 2019, but has since been on injured reserve. I don’t expect a guy who hasn’t played a down of football in 5 years to make the roster, but another body to compete for the open cornerback spot.
Also made official was the signing of Canadian Linebacker Adam Auclair. He has spent his first few seasons in the CFL with the Ottawa Redblacks and is penciled in right now as the WIL LB, replacing free agent Micah Teitz, assuming the team is keeping that spot as a Canadian spot for the ratio.
Okay, now the fun stuff! The not-official-until-Tuesday signings! On offense, the team has agreed to a 2 year deal with O-Lineman Jermarcus Hardrick, prying him away from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He will be the team’s Right Tackle, leaving only the Left Tackle for the team to figure out for starters. Sure, they may have overpaid for him, but if you are going to overspend, do it on your biggest needs. He brings a level of physicality the Riders are desperately missing.
And my favourite player in the CFL is coming to Saskatchewan! Running Back A.J. Ouellette is bringing his green Thor hammer to Riderville! Trust me when I say you will LOVE this guy! He runs HARD, blocks well and is just a fun dude. It sounds like he’ll wear #45 here, so if you are in the market for a new jersey like I am…
On defense, more big signings. At defensive end, replacing Pete Robertson will be Malik Carney of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He had 5 sacks and an INT last year, with 7 sacks the previous year. He didn’t have any sacks after week 8 last year, so hopefully a change of scenery is good for him and he shows a bit more consistency here.
In the middle of the D, say hello to another guy that played for Corey Mace back in Calgary a few years ago, Middle Linebacker Jameer Thurman. He was with Hamilton last year and was one of the biggest free agents on the market. He will take the place of Larry Dean, who is headed to free agency.
And in the defensive secondary, it wasn’t the big name we were hoping for in Jamal Peters, but the Riders will be bringing in Jalon Edwards-Cooper from the BC Lions. Only one interception last year, but he also didn’t allow a touchdown either! A very big under the radar signing, he’ll join a really good secondary with Amari Henderson, Rolan Milligan Jr., Jayden Dalke/Jaxon Ford and others. This leaves just one open cornerback spot open for training camp and there will be plenty of competition for that.
One quick note on the secondary, Taylor Shire of The Leader Post noted that DB Trumaine Washington is no longer on the Riders roster. He was there last week, so a quiet release must have happened.
Check out Stephen’s initial thoughts from this past week on all the reported free agent signings and see the grade he gave General Manager Jeremy O’Day. Do you agree?
As far as the Riders free agents signing elsewhere, it sounds like receiver Tevin Jones is headed to Montreal and defensive back Abu Daramy-Swaray signed with the Ottawa Redblacks.
Finally, I wrote a piece on the search for the next Riders Play by Play voice. I’ve been asked a lot lately who will it be, who do I want it to be, etc. All I can say is that the next play by play voice must embody the new culture that the team has. To me, it doesn’t really matter who it is, because I’m either at the game or watching on TV, so I don’t listen to the radio broadcast, but I do want it to be someone who represents the Riders organization and the fans with class and respect.
Subscribe now to The Piffles Podcast so you don’t miss anything in Rider Nation! Steve, Greg and I will share our thoughts on the Riders free agent moves this week on the show!
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