The Winnipeg Football Club has traded national offensive lineman Chris Greaves to the Edmonton Eskimos in exchange for international offensive lineman Selvish Capers and a 2016 second round draft pick.
Greaves was drafted by the Blue Bombers in the sixth round of the 2010 CFL draft. A defensive tackle at Western, Greaves was converted to guard in his rookie season with the blue and gold. After seeing spot duty in his second season in 2011, Greaves became a full-time starter in 2012 following the departure of incumbent left guard Brendon LaBatte.
Greaves leaves Winnipeg as the team’s longest-serving player. And while he is a respectable lineman, it’s understandable why the club has decided to move on from the six-year veteran. Greaves was the lone offensive lineman on the Blue Bomber roster who was acquired prior to the implementation of the team’s current managerial regime and, as a somewhat-undersized player who lacks physicality, hardly fits the team’s ideal positional mold. With hard-nosed hogs like Dominic Picard and rookie Sukh Chungh clearly the preference of team management, rumors of Greaves’ departure have been prevalent for several months.
The return for the Bombers in this deal is huge. The draft pick the team has acquired from Edmonton is conditional upon which of Edmonton’s two 2016 second round picks are higher. Barring a stunning turn of events, this pick will be the selection that originally belonged to Saskatchewan, which, if the season ended today, would be the ninth overall pick in the draft. This is because the first round of the draft will only have eight selections, as the Bombers forfeited their 2016 first round pick with their selection of Garrett Waggoner in the league’s supplemental draft this past May.
Capers, meanwhile, will immediately help settle an offensive line that has been in flux for the past several weeks. If the Bombers elect to keep Patrick Neufeld at right tackle, expect Capers to take Greaves’ spot at left guard. If not, Neufeld will move to guard with Capers starting at right tackle. Winnipeg’s depth linemen — second-year centre Matthias Goossen and rookie guard Tommy Griffiths — remain unchanged.
In the end, I see this trade as a win-win for both Winnipeg and Edmonton. The Eskimos were able to acquire a starting-caliber, plug-and-play guard who possesses the high-end athleticism Chris Jones covets in his linemen. Winnipeg, on the other hand, gets a versatile American offensive lineman along with a high selection in next year’s draft in their ongoing pursuit to revamp their Canadian content.
As an added bonus, the Bombers have cleared a significant amount of cap space with this trade. Greaves’ base salary of $145,000 is almost three-times that of Capers’, a second-year player who is still on his rookie deal. This factor will become critical should the Bombers use this added space to sign a big-name free agent in the coming days or weeks — say, perhaps, Henoc Muamba?
John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk
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