Riderville Roundup – February 4
Published: Sunday, Feb 4th 2024, 9:02am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Before we get to stuff on the field for the Riders, I want to get to something off of it. I had the chance to chat with former President & CEO Jim Hopson late last week and I posted the interview for Rider Nation to hear. For those that don’t know, Mr. Hopson was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer back in April of 2021. After 46 chemotherapy treatments, the decision was made to stop treatments and for Mr. Hopson to focus on the quality of his remaining time. He shared some great stories with me about his playing days with Ron Lancaster and George Reed and of course his time as the big boss of the team (and turning down Mick Jagger’s post concert party in Regina). If you have the time, We’d appreciate the listen. Mr. Hopson remains his upbeat self despite his situation.
We’ll see you at the home opener, Jim!
The CFL’s Free Agent negotiation window opens up TODAY! While teams cannot sign pending free agents from other teams just yet, we will no doubt hear some handshake deals done in the next week. Greg, Steve and I will discuss the latest on that this upcoming week on the show! For now, we listed our Top 5 Free Agents the Riders NEED to sign.
The Riders did make a couple of signings this past week, keeping some free agents in green and white. None bigger than D-Lineman Anthony Lanier II. There were a lot of question marks going into free agency on the D-Line and this answers one of them. Micah Johnson and Pete Robertson remain free agents, but locking up Lanier II is a great move. When healthy, he was the best player on the field for the Riders. Let’s hope we get a full season out of one of the best defensive players in the CFL.
Speaking of health, that’s my concern with the Riders signing Defensive Back Nelson Lokombo again. You need Canadian depth and guys that can play special teams, but is there anywhere else for him? He won’t be passing Jayden Dalke or Jaxon Ford on the depth chart… maybe there’s a chance he can compete for the open cornerback spot? Either way, this is a “prove it” deal for Lokombo and if he can’t stay healthy, I’d be moving on for good after this season.
My favourite signing from last year, receiver Shawn Bane Jr. also signed before hitting the free agent market. Bane Jr. will be back for two more years in green and white! I hope the team still goes after a guy in free agency like Damonte Coxie to really give Trevor Harris a ton of excellent options in the passing game.
Star DB Rolan Milligan was also given a new contract. He wasn’t a pending free agent, there was a year added on to his deal, so he’ll be with the Riders through the 2025 season. GREAT news as that defense as a whole took a nose dive after he got injured last year.
Keeping with the defensive backfield, the team also signed DB C.J. Coldon to the roster. There is going to be plenty of competition for what could be a few open spots in the secondary this upcoming Training Camp. And the Riders also signed LB Zakoby McClain out of Auburn.
And while it wasn’t announced by the team, the Riders will be looking for a new play by play voice for this season. We discussed this to start off Episode 256 early in the week.
Subscribe now to The Piffles Podcast so you don’t miss anything in Rider Nation! Steve, Greg and I will be talking all the latest free agency rumours this upcoming week as the negotiation window will be open!
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