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Riderville Roundup – January 27

Published: Sunday, Jan 28th 2024, 3:01pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD


It’s been a gorgeous week in Saskatchewan and the more and more people I talk to, the more and more people want to talk football! The CFL Free Agency window opens up in a week and we’ll see a flurry of news and notes then and get a better idea of the Saskatchewan Roughriders roster. 


No doubt we will see some more re-signings before that window opens and that’s exactly what we saw this past week with the Riders. The Riders signed their two most important pending free agents to start the week, by re-signing kicker Brett Lauther for 3 years and offensive lineman Logan Ferland for two years. Former Green Bay Packers executive Andrew Brandt says it best: Kickers are like lawyers. Never truly appreciated until you need a good and dependable one. And that’s exactly what Lauther is. He was a bit shaky to start last season, but after his minor injury, he was money. And he’ll continue to be money for the team.


Of course Ferland was the big OL signing (they HAD to bring him back), but I was a bit surprised (and relieved) when the team announced they re-signed Philip Blake. I was hoping they’d sign him again despite his injury and age. With a very large group of inexperienced Canadian O-Lineman behind him and Ferland on the roster, it was imperative they brought Blake back. Add in his versatility on the line, I fully expect the Riders to make a ratio change and start 4 Canadians on the OL in 2024 and go all American in the linebacker group.


Which brings us to our next signing. Linebacker/Defensive Back Mark McLaurin. He played SAM LB and Safety for the Edmonton Elks last year and while the SAM spot is currently reserved for C.J. Reavis, this gives the team some flexibility and can move some guys around if they need. Maybe McLaurin is viewed as the replacement for Canadian pending free agent linebacker Micah Teitz? Either way, a decent depth move and we’ll see what McLaurin has (and where he fits) in training Camp.


The final re-signing was an interesting one and the one that I’m not particularly “Fine” about. Quarterback Mason Fine was locked up for 2 more years, slotting him in right now as QB2 behind Trevor Harris. Why am I not too happy with this signing? It screams complacency. He’s had 2 chances to grab the reins of this team and has been pretty bad in the process. His ceiling has been met already and he isn’t the guy of the future. Sure, Jake Dolegala likely wanted to test free agency, but I’d rather bring in a guy like Mathew Shiltz or try to make a deal for Cameron Dukes (who I think the Riders will be ALL IN on next offseason) in Toronto than bring back Fine. 


With free agency creeping up, I looked at the team’s roster by positional groupings and see where they need the most help. I continued my series this week by looking at the receivers & defensive backs and ended it in the trenches with the Offensive and Defensive Lines. The Riders need help in a lot of places, but nowhere bigger than on the O and D-Lines. I fully expect Jeremy O’Day and Corey Mace to be throwing a decent amount of money around in the trenches when free agency hits.


Finally, I mentioned on this week’s show that I spoke with former President & CEO of the Riders, Jim Hopson, who, after 46 chemo treatments for stage 4 colon cancer has decided to stop doing treatments and focus on the quality of his time left with us. We had a great 30 minute phone chat that I can’t wait to share with Rider Nation. That will be posted for you to listen to early on this week. And I think I speak for everyone here when I say F*CK CANCER!


Subscribe now to The Piffles Podcast so you don’t miss anything in Rider Nation! Steve, Greg and I discussed all of those re-signings and so much more on the last episode!


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