Dressler signing eight years in the making for Bombers

The Blue Bombers have announced the signing of free agent slotback Weston Dressler.

Dressler, 30, was released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders on January 16 after eight seasons with the club. Due in the neighborhood of $240,000 in 2016, Dressler’s salary proved too rich for new general manager Chris Jones, prompting the diminutive receiver’s release. As per TSN’s Gary Lawless, Dressler’s deal with the Bombers will pay him roughly $170,000 per season over the next two years.

In a way, Dressler’s signing with the Bombers was eight years in the making. As Bomber fans have often been reminded over the past eight seasons, Dressler spent a month on Winnipeg’s negotiation list in January of 2008 before being inexplicably removed by then-general manager Brendan Taman. Eric Tillman added Dressler to Saskatchewan’s negotiation list soon after and, as they say, the rest is history.

As good as this morning’s signing looks on paper, Bomber fans must remember that Dressler’s addition may fail to ignite the team’s lethargic offence. The Bombers have made a number of major free agent acquisitions in past years and very few have lived up to the hype their signing initially generated. As I wrote last week, Bomber fans will be tempted to over-celebrate the team’s big-name free agent signings this off-season. Until the upcoming regular season kicks off and the results on the field are able to speak for themselves, fans should hold off on booking a home playoff date.

To further reference my piece from last week, Walters admitted in his press conference today that “[the Bombers’] scouting department needs to improve to find better, younger players.” This is hardly news for anyone who’s been following the club for the past two seasons, but it’s nice to hear Walters acknowledge the issue. Unless the Bombers are able to complement Dressler and any other big-name signings this off-season — and you can rest assured there are more coming — with a bumper crop of new talent, the Bombers aren’t going to climb up the CFL’s West Division standings very far.

One factor that may allow Dressler to have a major impact on the Bomber attack is his familiarity with offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice. Dressler notched a combined 2,064 receiving yards and ten touchdowns under LaPolice in 2008 and 2009 despite appearing in just twenty-nine of a possible thirty-six regular season games. This preexisting relationship may allow Dressler to have more success in blue and gold than his predecessor Nick Moore who, a major free agent acquisition himself in 2014, was a less established player operating in a system that was brand new to him when he first arrived in Winnipeg.

Speaking of Moore, general manager Kyle Walters confirmed today in his press conference that Moore was never part of the Bombers’ plans moving into 2016. As such, Moore will become a free agent on February 9. The Calgary Sun’s Scott Mitchell, a must-follow for all CFL fans, tweeted shortly after Walters’ news conference, “Stampeders will be in on Nick Moore. Book it.”

John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk

Twitter: @BlueBomberTalk

Email: bluebombertalk@gmail.com

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.