Five players Riders should re-sign (other than Darian Durant)

Last week the CFL released a very long list of players that could become free agents on February 14th, 2017.

Most of the conversation tends to surround what free agents from other teams might be a fit, something I touched on last week, perhaps what’s more important for a team is keeping some of the best players on their own list. That’s because they already know how that player fits into what they’re trying to do.

When it comes to the Riders, Darian Durant is their most notable and important free agent. This isn’t about him though, as it’s basically universally accepted that the Riders should re-sign their franchise quarterback. So, there’s no reason to go over that, again.

With that in mind, here’s five other players the Riders should re-sign:

Thaddeus Coleman

Coleman was voted as the Riders nominee for most outstanding offensive lineman in 2016, even if it was by default because he was the only guy to play in all 18 games. Whether he’s a long-term solution or not at tackle is still up in the air, but the Riders don’t have the depth along the offensive line to let him walk. Coleman should be back and competing for his job in training camp come June.

Corvey Irvin

Irvin seemed to get more comfortable in the middle of the defensive line as the season went along. Like the offensive line, defensive tackle isn’t a position of strength for the Riders. With some support beside and behind him on the depth chart, Irvin could grow into a solid producer for this team. He’s worth another look in 2017.

Otha Foster III

Foster was one of the Riders top defenders in 2016 and was given the nod as the team’s most outstanding defensive player (my vote would have gone to Ed Gainey, but that’s neither here nor there). Foster led the team with 71 defensive tackles playing a mixture of SAM linebacker and defensive back. Foster is a good fit with Chris Jones playing for him in Saskatchewan and Edmonton. He was an underrated signing last year but wouldn’t be this time around.

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Willie Jefferson (5) reaches for the ball, thrown by Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Trevor Harris ( not shown), as teammate Otha Foster III (20) and Redblacks’ Tanner Doll (52) look on during second half CFL action on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang ORG XMIT: JDT116

Willie Jefferson

Jefferson joined the Riders late in the season after being released from the NFL. It’s not clear at this point if Jefferson will head south again or not. If he wants to stay in the CFL, Jones should have a contract ready. Jefferson instantly became the team’s best pass rusher with three sacks in just eight games. Jefferson was consistently in the kitchen of opposing quarterbacks and his presence would be more than welcome in 2017.

Jeff Knox Jr. 

One of the bigger questions ahead of the 2016 was if Knox was another in a long line of players who picked up a lot of tackles in a bad defence because someone had to. I think it’s safe to say that he’s a pretty good football player. He’s maybe not someone who gets 110+ tackles a year but he’s definitely a good player. Even though Knox battled injuries all season long (a sports hernia from what I heard) he still managed to finish third on the team in defensive tackles and led the team in special teams tackles. Knox can contribute to this team on defence again in 2017, the question is will he even be available? I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pittsburgh native find a special teams role in the NFL like another former Rider linebacker who some questioned, Brian Peters.

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