The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a little extra dough to play with ahead of free agency.
Chandler Fenner, Winnipeg’s top free agent prize from a year ago, was due to make approximately $130,000 in 2019 on the back half of a two-year contract. The Bombers will save approximately $20,000 in 2019 cap space on Fenner’s new deal, per source.
The defensive back was signed to secure the strong-side linebacker (‘SAM’) position given the uncertainty of Maurice Leggett’s health following the Achilles tear he suffered in October of 2017. After starting the season at SAM, Fenner ultimately failed to secure a starting role in the secondary with Leggett and Anthony Gaitor taking over the position as the season progressed.
Fenner still has value as one of the CFL’s best special teams players. The 28-year-old recorded 24 special teams tackles in 15 games, good for second in the league. American special teamers don’t command high-price tags, however, leading to the restructuring of his contract.
It will be interesting to see how Fenner slots into the Blue Bomber secondary this season with Chris Randle (boundary cornerback) released and Brandon Alexander (field halfback) and Kevin Fogg (field cornerback) still pending free agents.
Gaitor — who recently extended his contract through 2020 — could be called upon to fill one of those roles, opening the door for Fenner to start. Alexander, should he choose to re-sign in Winnipeg, also has experience starting at SAM.
The Bombers have some extra money to spend following Fenner’s decision to restructure his contract. We’ll find out over the next two weeks how they choose to spend it.