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Stay or go? Examining the Riders potential free-agents

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CFL free agency is almost set to kick-off.

It seems like a good chunk of the league is a pending free-agent with a new collective bargaining agreement yet to be signed. So, it’s going to be a wild one.

This will be new VP and GM Jeremy O’Day’s first chance to put his stamp on his team’s roster. When the CFL released this year’s list of free-agents, it was long, very long. The Riders originally had over 25 names but a few players like Zack Evans, Marcus Thigpen, Mike Edem and Patrick Lavoie have already signed extensions. Linebacker Sam Eguavoen has been released to sign with the Miami Dolphins and receiver Kenny Shaw has also been set free. Not surprisingly, Drew Tate has already retired and is now a coach in B.C.

Here’s one man’s opinion on what the Riders should do with the remaining pending free agents playing a game of keep or walk.

Quarterbacks
Zach Collaros: The Riders won most of the games Collaros started, which is good, but quarterback win-loss record isn’t a real stat. His health is the biggest worry. Even If Collaros made it through the season, I’m not sure he’s the answer this team is looking for. Walk.

Brandon Bridge: Whether it was his fault, the coaches or both, there’s no doubt Bridge took a step back in 2018. Both sides are probably ready for change. Walk.

Running backs
Cameron Marshall: I like Marshall but running backs are a dime a dozen. Walk.

Receivers
Naaman Roosevelt: Injuries are starting to become a bit of a worry. He’s still reliable when he’s on the field and should have some support next year. Keep.

Caleb Holley: Feels like this might be the end of the line for Holley in Saskatchewan. A young guy who once showed some potential but hasn’t lived up to it. Walk.

Brian Jones: Who? Walk.

Rob Bagg: We all love Bagg, he’s a legend but his return was odd. Something was up as he barely played. Writing is on the wall. Plaza of Honour awaits. Walk.

Devon Bailey: Replaceable but the Riders aren’t exactly stacked with Canadian receivers. Keep (if there’s no one else.)

Offensive lineman
Josiah St. John: It’s probably time to move on. Take a flyer on someone else or find someone in the draft. Walk.

Defensive linemen
Willie Jefferson: Duh, the only reason the Riders shouldn’t do everything possible is because Jefferson is in the NFL. Keep.

Mic’hael Brooks: Brooks was the Riders biggest injury of the season. He’s the key to that defensive line and a run stopper. Keep.

Cory Johnson: Some insurance behind Brooks isn’t the worst idea. He’ll probably draw some interest from elsewhere. Keep.

Eddie Steele: If the price is right. Someone you bring to camp as the standard and hope someone surpasses him. Keep.

Makana Henry: Useful Canadian depth is never a bad thing. Keep.

Linebackers
Sam Hurl: It didn’t take long for Cameron Judge to pass Hurl on the depth chart. Good specials teams player, but cheaper, younger guys can be had. Walk.

Kevin Francis: As a Chris Jones experiment that panned out, the Riders might be interested in keeping him around. Keep (for now.)

Defensive Backs
Marc-Olivier Brouillette: Probably time to retire for good this time. Walk.

Tobi Antigha: A true Swiss-Army knife that helps the defence in many ways. Keep.

Jovon Johnson: We already know what’s happening here. Will the team release him early? Walk.

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About the author

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.

By Joel Gasson

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