Insider Talk: Riders’ re-signings, tomato cans & the XFL

It’s Wednesday morning, which means it’s time for another edition of Insider Talk.

Insider Talk is a weekly collection of anonymous quotes from people in and around the CFL. It’s a combination of news, insight, gossip, and fun.

Are you even reading this paragraph or did you just skip ahead to the quotes below? I don’t blame you if you did — I probably would, too.

Please enjoy and come back next Wednesday for more Insider Talk.

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Extending (star receiver) Shaq Evans was really big for Saskatchewan. He’s a game-changer, plus I think there’s a chance (receiver and return specialist) Kyran Moore could get a look from the NFL. He fits the Diontae Spencer mold. (Spencer, a former CFL all-star, has found a home as a returner for the Denver Broncos).

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Edmonton would be smart to trade (former Laval star and 2019 first-round draft pick Mathieu) Betts. He’s a free agent after this year and it’s inevitable that Montreal and Ottawa will make a push to sign him.

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I see them (the Hamilton Tiger-Cats) taking (Oklahoma State linebacker Amen) Ogbongbemiga first overall (in the 2021 CFL draft). He might not be in (training) camp right away, but I see him as Henoc Muamba 2.0. He probably doesn’t last in the NFL because of his size (six-foot, 230 pounds) but he could be a CFL starter for a long time.

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(Quarterback) Matt Nichols knows he needs to renegotiate his contract with the Argos. It’s a matter of when — not if — that happens. The same is true for Zach Collaros (in Winnipeg) and Nick Arbuckle (in Ottawa).

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I have two (American) clients who are pending CFL free agents. Both have decent (non-football) jobs right now and I’m encouraging both to keep them instead of going back to Canada. With what (CFL) teams are paying right now, we’ll wait for the XFL (in the spring of 2022).

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(Roughriders’ running back) William Powell was supposed to make $115,000 in 2020. He just signed back in Saskatchewan for $80,000.

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Everyone wants to talk about collusion surrounding player spending. What about the coaches (operations) cap? At least players have a union, a pension, and the right to collective bargaining. Coaches and scouts have none of that and the league still capped our salaries.

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Clubs see that COVID has given them an opportunity to change the league’s salary structure. Most teams are offering off-season money this winter, but are insisting they can’t do it in future years because of COVID. That rationale is a stretch — it feels more like an effort to starve the players in advance of collective bargaining again, just like they tried to do the last time.

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I’d like to see (reigning CFL Most Outstanding Player) Brandon Banks play in the West and not some of the tomato cans he goes against in the East.

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