Five players the Riders should re-sign

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – for media types at least – as we get to wildly speculate about who could be going where when the CFL free agent window opens in the middle of February.

The league took the first step toward the big day by releasing a long list of players that could potentially hit the free market in just a few months time.  In a perfect world, all player contract lengths would be known and we wouldn’t need to see a list of all the players, but that’s another story for another day. It’s also important to note that most of these players will generally re-sign with their current teams before free agency begins. We’ve already seen that in Saskatchewan as 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk has reported that Willie Jefferson signed a new contract recently and that’s why you won’t find him on this list.

1. Duron Carter

Keeping the Riders most outstanding player nominee in the fold is an obvious move. Though I don’t cheer for any specific team in the league, Carter is someone I enjoy watching. There’s no questioning his talent. His personality did seem to be a hit with the fans in Saskatchewan and he really embraced Rider Nation too. After an interesting exit in Montreal, Carter certainly has rebuilt his reputation in the league. What he might do in free agency is anyone’s guess.

2. Brandon Bridge

No, I’m not saying this just to suck up to Dunk. There’s no question that Bridge has all of the physical tools (the stuff you can’t teach) to be a starting quarterback in the CFL. Does he have the whole package? I don’t know. What I do know is he’s earned the shot to see if he can actually do it or not. Sure, we’ll all be talking about James Franklin until something happens there but I wouldn’t discount Bridge either, especially if the ratio rules change.

3. Spencer Moore

This is a move that wouldn’t immediately jump off the page and create a wave of reaction but Moore does play an important role for the Green and White. Moore has had his injury issues over the years but finally put in a full season in 2017. Moore won’t add 1000 yards of offence out of the fullback position but he is relied upon in a blocking role in Stephen McAdoo’s offence. He’s also a solid special teamer. This team isn’t really at the point yet where they can afford to let depth Canadians walk.

4. Dan Clark

Clark certainly has his detractors in Saskatchewan and his play has left something to be desired at times. That being said, given the state of the offensive line and no guarantees that someone better can be found, Clark has to find his way back to Regina in 2018. If an upgrade can be made at the position by the end of training camp, then it gives the team options either on the depth chart or on the trade market. The Riders offensive line needs to be better next season and having options is always a good thing.

5. Nic Demski

Notice a trend here? There’s no question that Canadians are important in the CFL and having more options the better. Demski had moments in 2017 but ultimately didn’t take off again and then got injured. At this point we still don’t really know if Demski is an every down receiver but the Riders Canadian depth at the position isn’t exactly a strength.

Does this mean the rest of the Riders pending free agents aren’t worth signing? Of course not. However, there is only so much money to go around and some tough decisions will have to be made. We all know Chris Jones isn’t afraid to make them and he’s been right more often than not.

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.
Joel Gasson
Joel Gasson
About Joel Gasson (187 Articles)
Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.

54 Comments on Five players the Riders should re-sign

  1. Lancaster/Reed // December 3, 2017 at 12:24 pm //

    Signing your canadians is always a good place to start. Spencer moore definitely is a very good under the radar player. He quietly does his job with little fanfare, but you would certainly notice when hes not there.

  2. Rick cowan // December 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm //

    I hope they sign all of these guys I also hope they sign Eddie Steele and Jovan Johnson

  3. Spencer Moore is an absolute stud. All guts, no glory. A must sign! Duron Carter we’ll see, if he doesn’t get a serious NFL opportunity I think he’ll be back. I would really like to see Bridge get a serious opportunity to start. As far as Demski and Clark, we haven’t seen much from Nic due to injury, but he did show small flashes of brilliance, he just needs to do it consistency. Clark, well we need the Canadian depth, but I’m not sure he should be back as a starter.

  4. I agree with the top 3 but not sure about Clark or Demskii. The Riders o-line was arguably better when Clark was out of the lineup although can depth on the o-line is not deep. Demski has had 3 years to develop and although he started last season fast, he was underutilized for other games before his injury. It’s no secret he’s coveted by the hometown BB so I’m
    Sure Demski will explore that option.

  5. Galloping Again into 2018 // December 3, 2017 at 1:03 pm //

    Demski,Moore and Clark are vital. This team needs Canadians. Bridge doesn’t count against the ratio but is a great athlete. His QB ability is mediocre. Duron Carteris not vital. This team has enough talent at receiver without him. Unless you make the TSN highlight of the night or free movie passes.

  6. I heard Spencer Moore doesn’t like it here and he’s looking to go east

    • Lancaster/Reed // December 3, 2017 at 1:29 pm //

      He must have liked it here well enough to sign at least one contract after his rookie 2 yr deal. But, sometimes canadians do want to play closer to home, especially if they go home every offseason, or have 2nd jobs elsewhere.

    • theonlydispassionateriderfan // December 4, 2017 at 10:51 am //

      Moore has signed two extensions in his tenure in Sask. If this is the case, it’s a very new issue. And as I have not seen a single tweet or post regarding this, I’d love to you know whom you “heard” this from.

  7. Galloping Again into 2018 // December 3, 2017 at 1:28 pm //

    If Carter has truly cleaned up his act he could be a great ambassador to this league. He could be someone who could help the Argos gain some fans and popularity. If the NFL doesn’t work out the league should get him in an Argo uniform. It wouldn’t be the first time teams have sacrificed for the Argos and hence, the leagues good. Look at Edmonton in 2012

    • greenenvy? // December 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm //

      I don’t know where Carter will sign but I doubt it’s in Regina. Not that he doesn’t like it there – I think he would like to go back there if he’s in the CFL. I don’t see him making it in the US. Last year he had all off season & part of the latter part of the season after being kicked off to find a spot there. Obviously no takers. Considering everything Riders is out there all the time, the fact that we’ve had ONE NFL guy apparently talk Carter & nothing since is interesting. Whether or not he gets tryouts, he’s too much of a diva to last long. Not everyone is like Jones who admits he talked to him EVERY day during the season. That’s great in the NFL if you’re a top draft choice. Whine all you like. But if you’re undrafted & whining about not getting the ball because you’re not practising with the 1st team, that’s a different matter. Carter still whines. Before the semi – “they BETTER be watching me”. Why?? Does Jones want to baby sit Carter again? Does the offensive coach who was involved in “the skirmish” want him back? Have the players had enough of his self love? IMO – yeah.

    • Lmao Argos fans can support the Argos, the league doesn’t need to be involved.

  8. Scottsask // December 3, 2017 at 1:55 pm //

    I think Carter is extremely vital, arguably the best receiver in the league, and versatile. Ask Messam and Calgary’s QB. I thought it would be a joke, but he delivered when it counted.

    • Galloping Again into 2018 // December 3, 2017 at 2:14 pm //

      Carter had the pick 6 and a couple of nice tackles. That’s all he did in an uninspired effort by the stamps in the 1st of their 3 straight loses in meaningless games.

  9. greenenvy? // December 3, 2017 at 2:10 pm //

    If Carter could catch the ball, maybe. He only caught 61% of his targets, not good, & had more long balls than most but the fewest caught – 30%. This is a continuing theme. Last year he didn’t play the full season because he was sent packing but his prior season in the CFL he was targeted 2nd most in the league & caught 57% of his passes, which is beyond awful. Best receiver, Scottsask?? Let’s not complicate things – receivers main job is still to catch the ball when it’s thrown to them. Carter is too interested in showboating to make the simple catch. I’ll take Ellingson & Zylstra any day. They make the difficult catches look easy, not the simple catches look difficult. Carter drops too many balls he SHOULD catch. A guy like Jones would notice that, I would think.

    • Lancaster/Reed // December 3, 2017 at 2:16 pm //

      I know you cant post links, but where do you find those stats?

      • greenenvy? // December 3, 2017 at 3:25 pm //

        Go to, then click on Stats, league leaders, receivers, show more, which gives you more detail. You can then select any year in the drop down menu for year. If you REALLY want detailed stats, a PDF symbol should show up on the RHS after you click on stats. There is some really good numbers on almost anything you want to know there.

        • Lancaster/Reed // December 3, 2017 at 3:44 pm //

          Thanks. Ive opened the stats page but never pdf or delved too deep apparently.

          • greenenvy? // December 3, 2017 at 4:46 pm //

            Did the red PDF box show up for you, Lancaster? It should pop up after you select stats on the top of the page on the right. Or after you select one of the options on the stats drop down menu. On an iPad I sometimes find even the stats heading doesn’t appear so you have to click on the 3 dots to the right of the last heading & a pop up menu appears with stats on it. The PDF download has all the official CFL stats. 14 pages of it. TTYL

          • Lancaster/Reed // December 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm //

            Thanks greenenvy?. I got the red pdf to pop up eventually. All those stats is like cfl nerd nirvana. Lol.
            The only issue i have with your interpretation of the numbers,is that it takes two to tango. The qb can target X receiver, but it isnt solely the receivers fault if it isnt caught. QB accuracy also plays a part.
            That being said, carter isnt even the best receiver on the riders. That would be Roosevelt. And yes carter does drop more catchable balls than other top receivers , although so does bowman in edmonton.
            Is carter a showboat? Absolutely. Big ego? You bet. I think thats why he likes sask, he likes being noticed, big man on campus and all that. Is he talented? YES. He does however need to get his emotions more in check and takes less penalties. Also, he definitely could catch a higher % of passes if he tried to use both hands more often. I notice he sometimes has one arm down near the defender. Not really sure why. Trying to draw a penalty? I dont think the defender is holding the arm. Trying to create some seperation? Maybe sometimes. Showboating? Quite possible. The receivers coach needs to emphasize to carter to use BOTH HANDS.
            Anyway, thats my 2 cents on carter. I think the riders should re-sign him . Rob Bagg says carter is a lot of fun to be around and is good for team unity in the receiving corp. i will take him at his word.

    • 3rd and 1 // December 3, 2017 at 4:12 pm //

      Green envy take into account that Duron play wide out. With a majority of the balls thrown his way ware low percentage plays. You can’t be putting his numbers up against the leagues Slot backs. Their routes are a much higher percentage play. The run crossing routes through a couple zones. They can quickly position them self between 2 zones and wait for the ball to arrive. A streaking Wide Out down the side lines is one of if not the hardest catch and lowest percentage plays period!!!! I have no idea why SK OC MacAdoo didn’t use Carter more in crossing patterns. In a game against Winnipeg Duron caught about a 15 to 20 yard crosser against a solid group of DBs and then while in chase he took it another 40 yards or so all the way to the house. Then for some reason i only saw MacAdoo run that again in Calgary when the Riders prevailed at McMahon.
      I have seen Durin drop a few catchable balls on higher percentage plays. But I can say the same thing for awesome receivers like McDaniels, Ellington and Roosevelt. I seen all of those guys drop catchable balls. I guess I’m trying to say that when Carter is on a long low percentage route and the ball is catchable. Or not catchable… Durin comes up with the majority of those. However the ball thats 5 to 10 yards deep. Or way under thrown. The CFL should add a stat as an uncarchable ball and not include that play with regards to percentages.

      • greenenvy? // December 3, 2017 at 5:01 pm //

        The problem with that, 3rd, is that so do Zylstra & Ellingson to name 2. TSN’s stats guy Derek Taylor did an interesting piece on this as some of the better receivers are now at wideout. Zylstra caught 75% of his targets & had 12 more targets than Carter. As far as deep throws, which are lowest %, Zylstra was tops catching 63%, Carter was lowest in the league @ 30%. Take it one step further & Carter had one of the better YAC stats of the top guys but lower average yds/catch. In other words the ball travels in the air a shorter distance where caught & Carter picks up his yards after the throw. So, why is he dropping the ball more. For instance you would expect this of a RB like Harris but not Carter. Take his yards, mius his YAC & you get on average how deep he is on average when he catches the ball.

        • True green // December 4, 2017 at 6:59 pm //

          I won’t blindly defend Carter, or take anything away from Zylstra, but one of those receivers had an all start QB involved and the other had Glenn (at least this year). Carter is an amazing receiver and athlete. Is he he beat in the league? probably not. Should the riders resign him? Yes.

      • A target refers to the ball being delivered in the receivers catch radius. So if the receiver extends his arms and the ball hits him in his hands it’s in his catch radius and he has been targeted. If the ball is thrown behind him over him ahead of him or bounces off the turf it’s not a target. That would be a errant throw from the qb. Simply put it has to be a catchable ball in the field of play to consider it a target. So it doesn’t matter what route the receiver runs. If the ball catchable it’s not a target.

  10. Rick cowan // December 3, 2017 at 2:33 pm //

    I really hope the Riders resign Campbell and Knox they don’t need Foster back because Montcreff played good

  11. Scottsask // December 3, 2017 at 2:40 pm //

    Moncrief was great and he would come at a lower price tag as well.

  12. Demski is a must I feel, simply that he can do a multitude of jobs , return /sb/wr : He has speed deceint hands , ( we need a Bagg clone or risk becoming the bombers /als/lions at receiver , NO CANADIANS !!! worth mentioning . To an extent Edmonton is in the same boat, heavily relying on internationals . Import wise Campbell at blind side tackle is the must. I agree Otha is the odd dude out regarding LB , I think he returns to Edmonton (if he wants to win) or possibly goes to mtl for big $$$$. I like Otha , but play of Butler/Montcreif means he is expendable. Also like Eddie steel for one more year unless they make a huge run at Zac Evans. ( but a Steel/ Evens/ Marubure trio might be interesting at D-tackle). Letting Riders go ALL import at receiver , then no need for Demski, (and sadly —- I hate this but maybe Bagg to Hamilton/Toronto for neg list or picks; we are talking about Jones here so anything is possible)

  13. Opps , second thought on the idea of going CDN at D tackle,they retain Demski BUT go with 3 American olinemen, as pointed out oline needs to be a bit better. Soooo resign Coleman/Cambell, move LaBatte back to centre, have Peter D at one guard, /Dennis the other : cross fingers the St.John actually improves next year and can play in 2019. By then Darius Bladek is a for sure starter as well. SO Back to 3-4 Cdn olinemen of quality in 2019. Orrrrr in off season Jones gets turfed by the NFL Giants ( oline is percieved small by NFL standards there ) As FA Jones a Weyburn boy plays -1-2 years as a Rider as part o giving back to province ).

  14. Scottsask // December 3, 2017 at 3:29 pm //

    Is Zack Evans a free agent? If so they should definitely try to bring him home.

    • theonlydispassionateriderfan // December 4, 2017 at 10:56 am //

      I agree. Re-sign Steele and bring in Evans. Mrabure can come back if the price is right but they need a legit run stopper in the middle.

  15. Rick cowan // December 3, 2017 at 3:50 pm //

    I think they will go after Zack Evans he is good friends with Dan Clark and I think they may go after Fabian in Bc or one of Ottawa stores 3 free agent Canadian olinemen they also need another corner back

  16. Carter is expendable. He is no where close to being the best receiver in the league. Just not consistent enough. I would argue that Zylstra, Ellingson, Sinopoli, Spencer and several others have way better hands and don’t feel the need to brag and taunt after every catch. And in the end zone, they act like they have been there before. Classy individuals. The way Carter gets in everyone’s face is ridiculous. You just never know when he will implode and take a costly penalty. That in itself puts him behind the elite receivers who let their play do the talking.
    I would hope the Riders would sign Devon Bailey. He is Canadian and looked promising.
    I think that Otha Foster is also expendable. But he is one of “Jones guys” so that is unlikely. They definitely need to find some DBs so that they don’t have to use Carter on defence. They need both starters and depth. Casey Rodgers should not be resigned. He gets beat like a rented mule.

    • Carter gets a lot of ink & is good at self promotion. As stated on this site previously, over his last 3 years he catches around 60% of balls thrown his way, far from elite. I keep hearing he’s the best receiver in the league but what’s it based on? Zylstra missed 2 games & finished over 600 yards ahead of Carter & yet Carter’s the best? By what measurement?

      • Best receiver, maybe not. Best overall player, yeah I’d say so. Any other players in the league score on offense, defense and special teams?

  17. It would be great to pick up Zack Evans. Could use a better right tackle; Coleman isn’t great. All around, some younger O linemen. Next season, all the starters will be thirty and over.

  18. I agree with both comments. Riders have lacked a stud DT for awhile & Evans is a hometown boy Riders somehow made available in the expansion draft. As a National he’s just below Laing & Laurent. He would be a really big upgrade. Coleman is OK but getting older. It would be good if Dennis could earn his $$$ & slot on @ 1 pf the tacle spots. Help on the OL is needed so we don’t have to play 3 imports again.

  19. Brandon Bridge is overrated by many fans, because they want him to be the next one. The scouting report on Bridge says:
    – Coin-flip accuracy with receivers having no idea where to expect the throw when the ball leaves his hand.
    – Footwork is a mess at times, causing the ball to sail.
    – Rushes some throws unnecessarily rather than finding his rhythm and getting it out on time.
    – Fastball pitcher delivering nothing but gas on most throws. Must improve his touch to create more catchable throws.
    – Average decision maker. Believes he has enough arm for any window and will throw into tight coverage. Relies too often on a fadeaway release.

    He is not the next one, keep looking.

    • mehh at 26 with limited playing time Bridge brings more upside tot he table them many other Qb’s in the league. Consider that most the ESTABLOSHED starters in league are 30ish +++ most having been where Bridge is now early in their careers. Jennings is basically the only young gun starting and stuggled last year. (not unexpectedly) A bit foolish to compare say Bridge to BLM who as I said is 30ish not a spring chicken and BLM is BY FAR NOT lights out. Bridge can get a Qb coach in offseason and during for the next couple years who knows what his ceiling is ??? Franklin yes more polished at this point and like Jennings seen as a more proven commodity. $$$$ are the factor /// passport if rule changes in Bridges favor, plus Bridge like Jennings can just flat out RUN!!!!! and is a horse to bring down. Franklin more 1 dimensional. Frankly , teams having BLM, Harris, Collaros, will have sub par Qb’ing to the younger more mobile group of Jennings , Franklin/Bridge==== Adams if he gets developmental time. Rielly still far in the way the best of the bunch ///but father time is NOT his friend but a couple good balanced years left. ( I estimate a 2 year window for Rielly to get another Cup, then his skills diminish and he becomes a slightly upgraded Doubles. I bekieve we in Rider nation like Bridge simple due to his lower cost and higher upside/balanced abilities ( a taller Doubles if you will ).

  20. Scottsask // December 3, 2017 at 8:18 pm //

    I would agree with all of that. Bridge is still so Young and I don’t mean Vince. He still had tons of upside. The O line is my biggest concern going into the offseason. I should also clarify, you are right statistically Carter is not the best receiver in the league. He is the most naturally gifted athlete in the league, and if Rob Bagg thinks you’re a good teammate that’s as good as gospel.1

    • pantsonfire // December 3, 2017 at 11:36 pm //

      Truth be told BLM is 27 & won a Cup at 24. Bridge is 25 & both have March birthdays. By the time BLM was 25, he had almost 10,000 yards passing in the league. So BLM is old at 27 & Bridge is young at 25???? Generally players have their prime years in the 27-32 range in football. I’d take BLM at 27 any day over Bridge at 25 & you’d be hard pressed to find a coach, including Jones, who wouldn’t. Funny you have 2 QB’s on the Riders in your list & one, Franklin, who the Riders desperately want. Are there any QB’s in the league you thing might be better? Oh yeah, Reilly has a 2 year window. You in Rider Nation DO like Bridge but pretty much everyone outside Rider Nation doesn’t. You really have to take off the green glasses. Tell you what. Let’s talk part way through the season. Write it down somewhere. BRANDON BRIDGE WON’T BE A STARTER for more than half a season, if that. He’ll likely be signed which means nothing, but I’m saying if he’s not with Saskatchewan in 2018, he won’t be a starter with any other club. You heard it here Scottsask & Fits Dec 3, 2017. I’ll be in touch in July on this, maybe August. Give him a starting job & he’ll mess the bed. But I’m very OK with that – he’s your boy & you think he & Adams will give you better QB’ing than BLM, Harris & Collaros?? I hope they play for the Riders next year – A LOT. Jones isn’t stupid. He’s going nowhere if that is his QB stable.

  21. Evil Empire // December 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm //

    Although the Argos won the Cup and with no disrespect to them as they have a lot of talent but man the west is just loaded. It’s going to get bloody next year with all 5 western teams gunning for number one. Can’t wait!

  22. Brian Burnham of the B.C. Lions is the best receiver in the CFL.

  23. greenonions // December 4, 2017 at 12:31 am //

    Lot of good receivers but Burnham is a good choice.

    • Agreed. Burnham is another good one. Makes good catches on a regular basis and doesn’t need babysitting or team mates to keep an eye on him on field to make sure he doesn’t take a stupid penalty.
      As for Carter being the most athletically gifted; why? Because he tells everyone that on a regular basis? Is he more athletically gifted than Diontae Spencer, Brandon Banks, Roy Finch or for that matter, Mincy in Montreal? Carter and Jones would like you to believe that he is. Furthermore, often the players that end up being in demand and hall of famers are those players that have an almost magical mix of natural athletical ability and football smarts that can’t be taught but seems to be almost an instinctual knowledge of where to be and when to be there. Those football smarts seem to be what separates the regular player from the elite player and is often referred to as the “it” factor. Carter may make the occasional highlight film but does not have that “It” factor that also gives them a quiet confidence because they know within themself that they can go out and make tough catches every day and don’t have to brag about it.

      • None of the players you mentioned scored on offense, defense and special teams… Carter did. Period. Name another player in the league that did lasr year.

  24. Zack Evans was let go buy taman and chamblin another one of there smart moves

  25. Zack Evans wasn’t “let go”. He was taken by Ottawa in the expansion draft. They couldn’t protect many and nobody foresaw them taking both Sholigan and Evans.

  26. Great pickups by Ottawa though weren’t they.

  27. theonlydispassionateriderfan // December 4, 2017 at 11:24 am //

    It’s time to cut ties with Clark. Worst case scenario, they can start Bladek at RG, move Dyakowski back to his natural spot at LG and LaBatte to C. The have National depth on the roster with 6 National OL under contract for 2018 and they’ve already began to groom Eddie Meredith to move to Centre at some point.

    Clark was undoubtedly the 9th best starting Centre in the league. He’s proven he’s only an option at Centre and little offers no versatility at other positions on the line. Add to the fact he hasn’t played a full season in 4 years. I would allow him to hit the open market, as the demand will likely be moderate to low. If a viable replacement cannot be found (like highly versatile option Alex Mateas), look to bring him back then and ONLY then but do not extend him ahead of free agency.

  28. Bleeding Green // December 4, 2017 at 11:41 am //

    Feel like im the only the Rider fan that isn’t that impressed with Demski. As a receiver anyway. He had a lot of frustrating drops.

  29. The 13th Rider // December 4, 2017 at 10:43 pm //

    You would think everyone wants to play in Riderville, we are going to be disappointed if Bridge signs elsewhere, not sure if Jones likes that? Interior DL, Steele and Mrabure are fine but we need an American like Nick James back and healthy at 6’5 320, he gives us lots of push!

    • Fully agree on Nick James. He was a an absolute STUD for the few games he played. I am very excited about his prospects if he stays healthy.

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