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.