Too Early To Declare Winner of Cory Watson Trade

As most of you know, veteran receiver Cory Watson was traded to the Saskatchewan Roughriders this morning along with a 2015 3rd round draft pick in exchange for second year receiver Kris Bastien, a 2015 2nd round selection, and an unnamed player from Saskatchewan’s negotiations list. Since the trade took place plenty of people have asked me who won the deal. My answer? I don’t know.

Please don’t take that to mean that I’m not well-informed. I’ve watched every CFL game Cory Watson’s ever played. I watched some of Bastien’s film prior to the 2014 CFL draft and liked it — and, let’s be real, when a team trades for a player they could have drafted the year before, it means Walters really liked the film too. Though Walters probably won’t come out and say it straight up, he had to have really wanted to draft Bastien last season.

Meanwhile, the picks in this trade are straight forward — in a great draft, the Bombers moved up to get a third pick in the top 15 selections. That’s big. As draft day approaches in May, the Bombers could either choose to select three blue chip prospects or trade any combination of the three picks for a king’s ransom.

The issue is the major unknown — the player whose rights the Bombers acquired from Saskatchewan’s negotiations list. Darren Cameron tweeted that “Kyle and scouts like [the neg list player]” (no surprise there!), but also that the team will confirm who the mystery player is if the club is able to sign him. You’d also have to expect the chances of the club signing the player are relatively high, given that they felt confident enough to trade for his rights.

And so, simply, if this neg list player turns out to be the next Chad Owens, Adam Bighill or Delvin Breaux, the Bombers win this trade easily. If this neg list player turns out to be the next Bloi-Dei Dorzon, however, things get a little more complicated.

Cory Watson captivated Bomber fans in 2011, catching 69 passes for 793 yards and a TD. He was big, mean, fast, and strong. I’ll never forget the amazing catch and run he had in Montreal back in 2011. Surely, this guy was going to be the next great Blue Bomber receiver, we thought. Heck — Watson year one, Henoc year two? This Joe Mack guy is a draft genius!

But Cory Watson never regained his 2011 form. Often hurt, Watson watched from the sidelines in 2014 as Julian Feoli-Gudino — who just re-signed a contract extension with the Bombers through 2017 — took his job.

At the end of the day, the ‘Riders win this trade if Watson steps up in 2015 and finally puts up a 1,000 yards receiving season. At 31 come the start of the season, he’s not long for professional football — it’s time for Watson to put up or shut up.

Conversely, the Bombers win the trade if Kris Bastien becomes the next Nate Coehoorn, a player to whom Bastien aptly compares. The Bombers would also get a leg up in this trade if the extra $50,000-60,000 in cap space they added allows them to sign a stud free agent in just under two weeks when the market finally opens.

But, in the meantime, with the draft, the neg list player, free agency, and the development of two Canadian receivers up in the air, anyone who tells you they know who won this trade is lying. Chances are we won’t know for at least one full calendar year.

John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk

Twitter: @BlueBomberTalk

Email: [email protected]

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.