C'mon internet lets do what you do best and speculate wildly.
aside from our own FA's (because quite frankly i'm scared if we don't re-sign all seven) who do you guys want to see in Black and Gold for the first year at THF@IWS (that's what i'm calling it this year btw)
top 4-5 guys you'd like in order please, i'll start ahem
Patrick Watkins (TO DB)
Marc Parenteau (WPG OL)
Keron Williams (BC DL)
Dimitri Tsoupas (CAL OL)
Alex Hall (SSK DE)
Obviously Weston Dressler would be nice, but i don't think our offense NEEDS him (who couldn't use him, but defense is the issue)
next on the list would be sean whyte or swayze waters if congi doesn't resign, but that'd be needs based.
basically i'm sick of being last in sacks for and against every year... and Patrick Watkins is the only guy in the league tall enough to cover Bakari Grant lets take that away and kick it up a notch folks.
You'll find my wish list in the above thread. IMO my top priorities are for the Cdn receiving depth,fb/te position and fgk. You'll see that I agree also with you on Watkins-db,but I hope that the team doesn't sign either of Waters or Whyte as I am hoping and wishing that they can somehow convince Milo to sign here. I posted in thread above before the RB draft took place,anticipating that we would lose Delahunt to Ottawa,leaving us only with Deidrick at age 35 and a rumour of the conversion of L.B Prime to FB next year.The Canadian Receiving needs an upgrade as although Fantuz is solid and Giguere is improving,behind them we are woefully thin as little used Stala turns 35 next year and Charbonneau after 2 full seasons has not shown he can be anything but bench material,so far....
I listed who is potentially available in both positions in FA and on another post in the thread have listed the Cats
current updated roster broken down position by position by depth of Cdn/Imp ratio for each position.
Austin is not a patient man but usually you need to be patient with most Canadian Receivers especially those coming out of the CIS. Unfortunetly CIS receivers do not see any thing close to the import CB/HB that in the CFL. CC will be entering his 3rd season and the first two he has been a roster player so he must be showing something the hopes will that he will break out in his 3rd season if not they will need to get on their horse and find a 3rd Canadian Reciver to go with fantuz and Giguere.
Losing Delahunt was a huge blow. Delahunt is a true TE all though his career at UCONN so a good blocker and a receiving threat from a TE is the current trend.Not sure how they will go about getting one that will be ready coming out of the draft or in FA.
Ottawa took the two rookies over the last two seasons that were able to step right in and contribute as a TE right away.
I would say if the Riders place Stephanson on the PR again they need to swipe him up. after years of just special teams the last few games of 2012 Cortez began using him at TE and he also showed his receiving skills. He did rush for 5,000 yards in the CIS so he does have skills to run when he has the ball.
Locking in Rico Murray was a great move and the young DBs did a great job but if they can get Watkins to come join his former DB coach in Toronto you get him.
Watkins can also follow his old DC to EDM as well. He is amopng the hottest import FA's
May seem like a small thing but it killed them in the GC Courtney Stephan coming out of N. Illinios after two years in the CIS was CFL ready at safety, unfortunelty non of the rookie back ups were and probably will not be this season as well King killed them in the Cup. Montreal has a vetran backup and great special teamer in Darryl Townsend. Either that or it is time to move Bucknor over to safety and away from the corner. Same problem with a CIS CB cming to the CFL the receivers are just so much better, faster and/or great route runners. Advatage of a CIS DB playing safety is that he is used to the extra receiver and knows how to cover the bigger field as a safety. Bucknor is still young so as he matures he could move out to the CB but for now better at safety.
Place Kicker will be an import most likley. you can just see Austin could not take the short kick offs lack of leg on FGs or consistancy. If Medlock gets no NFL play he could be the target.
Hopefully Austin and the coaching staff have it covered......and I'm sure that they do.IMO unlike other seasons where the roster has seen a turnover of anywhere from 20 to 25 players from the year before,I can see this year being a little tweaking of the roster with a few additions and minimal changes from 2013.If you look at the roster,the team has depth at pretty well all positions with the exception of Cdn Recievers and at the FB/TE position.I do agree with cflsteve though that safety depth behind Stephen could be an issue,with King and perhaps the team might give Bucknor or even Mutabola a shot there,backing him up.I still would love to see the team go after Milo in FA as our fgk and team him up with Bartel as punter to form a formidable kicking tandem.Medlock is a definite wild card in the mix,but really who knows what will happen there.The only thing with possibly getting Medlock back is losing one of your DI spots which would possibly effect your ratio balance and also what would the team do with Bartel???? I would hate to see him let go,and be scooped up by another team,with us getting nothing in return.If all else fails at the FB/TE position,trying to reaquire Stephenson from Sask is also a viable solution.As for
Charbonneau,he is going into year 3 with the club,and this will be a make or break year for him,and like most Ti-Cat fans I love
Stala,but at 35 yrs of age,and little used last yr. it's time to start looking at replacing him for the future.I like our young secondary,but snagging Watkins away from the Blows would be sweet and I Would much rather see him in Black and Gold as
opposed to Double Blue next season.As for our own FA's it's imperative that we resign Lawrence,Johnson,Davis,Beswick and of course Burris,not to concerned with the other two FA's.....Congi-fgk and Scott-ls as both these players are replaceable and expendable IMO.
JJ did a fantastic job of moving into the MLB spot and being the glue to that now sudenly solid unit. However, time moves forward and depending on how well Plesius has come along in Austins mind as well as T.O. Prime I could see a Canadian MLB duo in the near future.
Simoni will be the one LB that will need to be secured first and the business side could rear its head and I could see JJ not coming back as a possibility at the age of 32-33. Also having Bowman as part of that LB corp and healthy gives then another stud. They also had to release another stud LB whose name escapes me at the moment. I would be shocked not to see him pop up somewhere very soon.
I agree kind of make or break season for CC at REC. The elder Stalla can probably hang in for sure but having Fantuz and Giguere staying healthy will be key.
The huge roster from last season should see little turnover for the first time in years.
The signing of 4 of their young Canadian Olineman would mean the competition is on to gain that starting spot as well as the two reserve slots per game.
As fot the Import OT spots they are in great shape with three starters. Still will bring in competition like last year where Figs took the RT spot from Marc Dile who helped Burris thow for 5,000 yards but still got his fair shar of PT with a long 18 game season. Unless someone beats one of them out all three should be on the 46 with the one not starting being the healthy scratch
If by chance we do lose JJ to FA I can see the team moving Bowman to the middle as the new starter there.I'm not sure if Plesius would be ready for the jump to the starter's position just yet,I think that maybe he might need an other year of seasoning before becoming the starting MLB.if we somehow fail to sign Lawrence,I can see them switching over Isaac from the other side to replace him,and the starting 3 for 2014 could be Murray and Isaac outside with Bowman in the middle.I'm hoping that both Johnson and Lawrence are resigned,but if not,the team has depth in that position and could replace from within the roster.The only FA to me that might be hard to replace if lost is Beswick,who has become the premier special teams player in the league.T.Davis would be a big lose in the middle of the line,as he teamed up with Bulcke to form a formidable duo,but even if we lose him to FA the team still has T.Moore waiting in the wings,who started the latter 1/2 of 2012,started some this year early on,before getting injured,spending the last 1/2 of the year on IL. uNlike other years,this team has got depth at pretty well every position going into training camp for 2014,and should be able to replace players from within the existing roster.It appears that Austin has most of his bases covered for whatever scenarios that might pop up for the team in the off season,and the wholesale changes that we have become accustomed to here lately,will finally not be needed,as the team's roster seems the stablest its been in years.I'm thinking that at best we might see maybe 10-12 new faces next season on this squad or maybe even less.
and tweaking this team instead of blowing it up year after year is finally going to be a thing of the past.
Like Lawrence Bowman now healthy is an all star calibre player and will probably take over in the MLB spot if Plesius is not ready. Ca't see them going with a DB at Will LB. The SAM LB has transformed into a hard hitting DB probably the toughest spot to fill since there is no presedent gor that skill combo needed at any other football league or level. Keeping Murray and Issac on the roster gives them two.
Even if Bowman and Lawrence do start backing up Plesisus can play both Will and MLB and he and TO Prime will both have a full TC with Hamilton this season so who knows how that can improve them.
As for the Dline Torry Davis is a huge piec toe keep to go along with Canadian all star Bulcke. Also another big 300 pound Canadian out of Boiste st Mickael Atkinson had to spend the whole season on the 9 game IR with no room on the roster for him.
Beswick THE top special teams coverage guy in the league but there are alot of guys who are close.
Iwould like to see him work on his Will LB skills as a nice game day roster back up in case of injury while still competing as the top teams guy.
My FA wish list ... An Import DE & a NI Receiver ... Moving geographically West to East
Keron Williams - Import - DE - BC
Matt Carter - Non-Import - WR - EDM
Anthony Parker - Non-Import - WR - CGY
Aaron Hargreaves - Non-Import - WR - SSK
Kenny Mainor - Import - DE - WPG
Akeem Foster - Non-Import - WR - WPG
Jade Etienne - Non-Import - WR - WPG
Mike Bradwell - Non-Import - WR - TOR
Chad Rempel - Non-Import - WR - TOR
Other interesting names that are worth making an offer and can help especially with the ratio and would be good additions.
Marc-Olivier Brouillette - Non-Import - LB/S - MTL
Dave Lee - Non-Import - DL - TOR
Josh Bourke - Non-Import - OT - MTL
Ted Laurent - Non-Import - DL - EDM
With Brian Bulcke a lock at one DT & the emergence and growth of Hasan Hazime, if they add another solid NI DT like Laurent or Lee ... They can have a solid rotation group of NI's at the 2 DT positions.
There are others of course ... but guys like Cordarro Law & Alex Hall amoung others are gonna try the NFL so you likely wouldn't see them before September anyways.
The real sleeper-name in this year's FA list, IMHO, is Marco Brouillette. He's a game changer on defense and a NI at that. He can play SAM LB. Nickel DB, Safety. He's smart, a flexible player & just entering the prime of his career. He is an Austin type of player & I think Kent should go after him aggressively.
I think you are right that Austin is not done with signing of another Canadian Receiver to add to starters Fantuz and Giguere. Giguere was very impressive last season until injury. I really like Bradwell fitting in as a 3rd Canadian receiver he can also plsy specials and may be looking out of Toronto with the emergence of Spencer Watt and looking at other Canadian receivers.
The rest of the receivers you listed all still are in the process of fulfilling their potential so all of them could be good but it is unknown how good at this point. Bradwell is already a proven 3rd Canadian receiver.
Bulcke is obviously a great talent starter and all star. Hazime was a great rotational guy. What are your thoughts on Atkinson as well as a big strong body to add in there to go with import Torrey Davis a couple of 300LB DTS. Hazime a tall 6'5" 260 is more of a swing dlineman.
Could they get Bulcke, Hazime, and Atkinson on the 42 each week could be a great fit as well as Nadon Gacson evolving into a rusch DE.
I don't think they would go to a CFL free agent to fill an import DE spot but would most likley go to the NFL free agents who may have exhuasted their option or are being replaced by a younger rookie in the NFL.
Definitely got a great one last year in Norwood. The Riders got one in Hille Taylor so there are a lot of hungry guys out there in their prime looking to continue their football careers.
Marco Brouilette would be a great addition. He could leave ontreal if he had a chance to start but which he just may be able to do at MLB with Plesius and Prime still evolving into pros.
If he would be coming to Hamilton in the same capacity he is playing in Montreal as a Utlity rotation player he would most likley stay with the Als.
Safety Courtney Stephon is the starter no doubt. He was well prepared to come to the CFL and start as a rookie. If Hamilton could get Bouillette to come in that utility rotation capacity then that would be a great fit.
Bucknor is the guy I am looking at. He has been projected to become a possible starting Canadian CB but has not had success up to this point but he is still young. If Austin makes the move to have him on the 42 as a back up safety, play specials and still work on being a CB. Would be huge if he can become a back up at both safety and CB or other DB spots.
When he did have to come in and play CB last season teams went right at him so he would need to evolve into a CB/DB
I'm not convinced or as positive when it comes to Atkinson. Multiple knee surgeries recently & hasn't played in 2 years. I hope he can come back and finally get to show what he can do but I'm not all that optimistic. Same goes for Gaydosh. It'll be a while before we see him up here, if ever. That's why I like guys like Lee & Laurent. They're here and have played at the pro level and have shown they belong. Atkinson & Gaydosh have never played a snap in the pro game. We have no idea if they'll prosper or spit the bit. Hazime, Lee & Laurent are young and have shown they can play.
Good point regarding DE's. It's definitely the cheaper way to go ... looking for NFL cast-offs. Problem is, that it takes at least a season for these guys to get used to that 1 yard. It throws off their timing. Throws off their swim or spin or rip move. Boudreaux has started to hit his stride with the added experience up here. Hopefully Norwood does as well. I think Norwood is a solid player. Great in pursuit sideline to sideline. Can drop into coverage on RB's releasing to the flat based upon Orlondo's coverage/pressure scheme. But too often I see him getting washed out on runs and he really isn't a threat as a pass rusher ... yet. Again, hopefully the rookie experience will show him what he needs in his sophomore season.
I'm still on the fence regarding Stephen. I think he'll continue to develop and improve. But he's still a little light on overall experience having not been a starter at Northern Illinois. Brouilette is hands down much more experienced and is a weapon, rather than a liability or weakness at safety or SAM. Nothing can replace the experience he has as a QB and the way he can anticipate things on the field.
I agree with brouilette don't get me wrong but his versatility in Montreal has tended the Als not to make him a full time starter at any of those positions. As I said if Hamilton can convince him that he will be coming to start at the NLB spot or Safety spot they should have a good chance to land him.
He is certainly in his prime now and is probably looking to be a full tim starter. Stephan, as you mentioned, along with Plesius and Prime at MLB are still evolving. All three will be on the roster regardless but in what capacity will depend on how much they have impoved. For plesius and Prime they will also have the extra plus this season of being in training camp with Hamilton
I think that they have found a starter for sure in Norwood. If indeed he still is having trouble with the Run could be a good place for Hazime to rotate in as a run stopping DE is a defensive scheme. The import DEs are used to being very specialized when they come to the CFL and are often moved from OLB to DE so now with a seson under his belt you will probably be proven right that he will be even better this season
Getting Laurent would be great but it would be great for every team. So his odds of coming to any team would be of block buster tyoe signing. He has become one of if not the top Canadian DTs. If they did get he to go along with Bulcke that would be a great Canadian tandam to go with Import Davis. Also would open the door to have three import DEs rotating. As you said probably some one with NFL experience would be cheaper as siad player would be hungry to continue his career and evolve into a star
A name I don't see mentioned in this thread is one I hoped the Cats would go after after first seeing the list of upcoming FA's when it was published prior to the expansion draft -- Rory Kohlert. You'd have to expect he'll likely sign with Ottawa where he's pretty well assured of being a starter and a standout. But, if he hasn't by Feb. 15th, which may also be likely, I hope he gets an offer to come back to The Hammer.
Kholert is in a pretty good position for bargaining Ottawa wants him for sure and he would be a starter, Winnipeg the same. Coming to Hamilton would place him as the 3rd Canadian receiver while he won't be a starter he should see playing time as one of the 7 receivers that they would look to dress on game day. 18 game season is long and injury to Giguere or Fantuz would place him in the starting line up.
Can't rule out the Riders either being in a similar position with Getz and Bagg starting but Bagg has been prone to injury and the Riders do not have another Canadian receiver who has shown to be effective in the game. Sisco so far has not stepped up and has also been injured and McHenry is an H-Back really but is the emrgecny back up at the Canadian receiver spot. Both he and Kholert would both be dressing for games if Khlert went there. McHenry also great special teams player also is invilved in several offensive packages using him as an H-back