After the insanity that ensued in yesterday’s free agent frenzy, I found myself wondering how the B.C. Lions might field their roster in 2019.
Ed Hervey was the CFL’s busiest general manager on Tuesday, signing nine players to free agent deals. More acquisitions are expected to come on Wednesday — Duron Carter is said to be inking a contract with the Lions, while running back John White could follow shortly.
For the sake of clarity, I decided to make a mock depth chart for the B.C. Lions with all of Tuesday’s official roster moves in mind.
This depth chart is a tool designed to help fans visualize where the Lions have made changes thus far and speculate about further changes that may come. It’s obviously not official but it shows the changes effectively.
Mike Reilly’s name explodes off the page at the quarterback position, though the lack of depth behind him has to be a concern. It doesn’t appear as though the Lions have the cap space to add a veteran back-up, much less one as good as incumbent (and current free agent) Travis Lulay. The Lions better hope Reilly stays healthy in 2019 because without him they’re toast.
The second thing I notice is how lonely Solomon Elimimian looks at the middle linebacker spot with all those nationals. The former Most Outstanding Player is under contract with the Lions through 2019 but I have a feeling that will change.
Elimimian comes with a large price tag and the Lions are high on national Jordan Herdman. Turning the middle linebacker position into a Canadian spot — and getting cheaper and younger in the process — seems like a no-brainer.
I also can’t help but notice that the Lions now have the best pair of halfbacks in the CFL. T.J. Lee and Aaron Grymes have both been named CFL all-stars in the past and they’ll make life miserable for opposing slotbacks. Halfbacks are more difficult to find and develop than cornerbacks and B.C. now has arguably the two best ones in the league.
I really like the addition of Lemar Durant at slotback. Durant’s numbers in Calgary were mediocre but he missed time due to a torn ACL and was forced to share reps with other national receivers. The 2015 second-round pick could be a 1,000-yard receiver with the Lions this year.
Another thing I notice is the amount of money being paid to a pair of back-up Canadians. Charles Vaillancourt and Danny Vandervoort are former first-round picks who predate Hervey’s tenure with the Lions. I could see one or both of these players getting cut or traded to help the team recoup some of the cap space it burned through on Tuesday.
As for remaining areas of need, I could see the Lions adding a defensive end to play opposite Odell Willis and another receiver or two. Cordarro Law would be a nice option at rush end, while Vidal Hazelton has a history with Hervey from their time together in Edmonton.
Cornerback is also an area of need, though the team won’t be able to afford to spend much more on defensive backs.