Bomber Free Agency Discussion 2024

I suggested starting a separate thread for free agency discussions and as no one else has I will do so. We had one for 2022 that was well used. My idea is to limit this thread discussion to free agent speculation and signings which eventually heat up come February, I will eventually close it and all other Bomber related discussion can still take place in the General Discussion thread.

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I’ll include the links to the articles on signings to date:

and the creme de la creme:

It is too early to tell for certain and the Bombers probably don’t have the cap room that would lead to more 2023 signings to take advantage of unused cap space, but they appear well on their way to retaining their best free agents and duplicating their #1 status in the league in that regard from last year.

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It seems like most other teams, that signing the National players are of utmost priority. I’m not sure if most of our nationals are much greater than depth pieces at this point but I’d love to be proven wrong on that front.

If someone would take Demerio Houston off our hands, I’d be ok with that for someone less flashy and more consistent. As I mentioned in the 2023 thread, a more threatening middle D-lineman would really shore up our D.

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First off, before I get into this, I will say that I have been a die-hard Zach Collaros fan since he arrived here.

Recently, a friend of mine that was a member of the Bomber organization for over a decade & has three Grey Cup rings to show for it, asked me this question.

He asked, “who would you rather have next season & moving forward : Zach Collaros OR Dru Brown, Brady Oliviera & Dalton Shoen?”

We both went with cutting Collaros and re-signing those three.

As great as Zach has been in regular season play, his post season performance has been marginal at best.
7-2 record in 9 games, 6tds, 9ints and an average of just 207 yards per game.

So I guess the question is, have you seen enough in Dru Brown to make him the guy moving forward?

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If they were all free agents, I think I would likely agree with you. However, given that he still has another 2 years with the organization, it would be a terrible look to cut bait and we’ve also seen what vengeful Collaros is capable of.

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Agree with your assessment and posted that as well in other threads.

Houston is overrated due to his flashy interceptions and got beat big too many times to count and especially when it counted most. Had the Als thrown to Nichols in the final moments of the Grey Cup they would not have won in my opinion but of course they wisely chose not to, just like every other team. Perhaps Houston will mature in time. He has the tools to be a good one. He reminds me of Stefan Diggs of the Cowboys who started his career with tons of flashy interceptions but gave up a lot of big plays because of his riverboat gambler style. He adjusted his approach and is now one of the best corners in the league even though his IT numbers have dropped. Holm is now a bonafide starter and Parker is coming along. Besides, the Bombers have a history of finding excellent DB’s. I won’t be upset if they re sign Houston but I won’t be unhappy if they don’t, especially if he wants a big raise for arguably being their worst DB last year.

We also need at least one way better interior D Lineman. We haven’t come close to replacing Richardson or Sayles and no longer have Kongbo as well. It’s ok to sign Lawson because he’s Canadian and Jake Thomas will likely retire, but we need someone else. Interestingly the guy we traded to Hamilton last year, Cedric Wilcots, was just re signed today by the Ticats. That is despite only playing in one game last year. The guy we received in exchange, Alden Darby, at least played for a while last year even though he barely played in Hamilton as well between his Bomber stints. Darby appears to be done in Winnipeg along with Winston Rose. I’m fine with that.

I also think the Bombers need to recruit a young linebacker who will be able to understudy Bighill and spell him off from time to time. I figure that Bighill has one year left. I was impressed with Kyrie Wilson’s season once he was fully healthy and got his sea legs back. He might have been the Bomber’s most underrated player last year. Perhaps he will take over from Bighill as the defensive signal caller in two years but we still need more talent at linebacker in my opinion

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An interesting and not crazy theory but I wouldn’t agree with it just yet.

It is true that Collaros hasn’t excelled in the last two Grey Cups, but in both he led them to the late points or gained the late yards that probably should have been enough to win both. He wasn’t the placekicker in 2022 or the defence and specifically Houston in 2023. He remains unflappable in the clutch, a critical quality we don’t know Brown has as of yet. He also didn’t get the best protection from the O Line in either game and played hurt in 2022.

Losing his salary I think would only save about $200,000 if Brown commands about $400,000 in free agency as a starter as many think he will. That would be enough to sign Schoen, assuming he didn’t follow Zach to whatever team he landed with. Perhaps Ottawa under this scenario so Crum could understudy him for the next two years. Not having Zach around isn’t exactly she best enticement for keeping Schoen either. Zach throws to him much more than Brown does. No matter what Schoen does we still have the best receiver and Canadian receiver in the league and if Brady re signs I would rather see the $200,000 or so Schoen would command spent on the D Line or O Line or even at linebacker.

Brown may have shown enough for some team to offer him $400,000 and anoint him as their starter. If so good for him. If not I think he’ll stay in familiar surroundings rather than make a lateral move as backup. I think it is obvious however that he is far from proven to be a long term effective starter, although he could be. I have seen too many Troy Kopps and Jake Maiers and Taylor Cornelius’ and Nick Arbuckles to not be leery of Brown’s relatively thin resume. My preference would have been to not cut the immensely talented Filet Pignon and let him be Zach’s understudy the next two years and not even have to worry about Brown.

I also don’t think Brady has anything to do with the QB situation. Assuming he doesn’t find himself a practice squad in the NFL, which I believe will be the case, he will be back and the Bombers will have to pay him, probably in the $200-250,000 range I expect. I would think they have already budgeted for that and surely have talked numbers pending his upcoming shot at the NFL. Ditching Harris and keeping Brady I think was a rare example of a perfectly timed personnel move and not paying an aging veteran with declining skills and increasing susceptibility to injuries more than what was warranted and moving on at exactly the right time. It would be nice if the Bombers could replicate that excellent judgement with the rest of their aging players.

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I think you are spot-on concerning the Harris to Oliveira transition. Starting in 2021 Harris showed much less durability than he had previously. He may have had a big part in lighting the fuse for WPG in 2016-19, but he was starting to wear out.
No one had much of a book on Brown when he went in for Collaros against EDM, and he executed very well, but against the second most generous defense in the league. He had a bigger task against CGY, and didn’t waver, but Houston’s INT was a lifesaver in that game.
Brown may eventually be the next super star CFL QB, but giving up too soon on Collaros, I believe, would be a big mistake.

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Brian Cole the latest signing. I was impressed with him when he filled in late in the season and the playoffs. We need all the competetnt linebackers we can get.

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We tried him out as a returner in pre-season. It could give us a little bit of versatility in case we need to break the emergency glass.

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It’s been quiet for a while in this thread but should heat up soon. Waiting for Schoen and Oliveira to decide what they are going to do. Walters can’t wait forever.

In any event one piece of good news in that Stanley Bryant signed. Hopefully they didn’t pay too much. He’s getting a bit long in the tooth but finding someone better to replace the GOAT wouldn’t be easy. Hardrick next but he may be tied in to Schoen/Brady as he won’t come cheap.

https://forums.cfl.ca/t/bombers-sign-all-star-ol-bryant-to-one-year-extension/90378?u=jon

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And Kenny Lawler restructured his contract saving cap room too.

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As many of you probably know it’s now official. Dru Brown is no longer a Bomber. That is no surprise. I’m not convinced that he has the goods to be a long term starter in this league mainly because of lack of meaningful playing time, but I hope he succeeds and wish him all the best. I don’t blame him for wanting to play, although he isn’t yet signed.

The Bombers now officially have no one behind Zach. Here’s hoping Strevs signs. I don’t want to sound repetetive, but I will reiterate that I think the worst personnal move the Bombers have made under this current regime was to let Filet Pignon go and replace him with journeyman Prokup on a temporary basis. It boggles the mind. Sure would be nice to have him in the fold now for a second year of apprenticeship.

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Looks to have potential. From 3DownNation:

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have made a trio of signings for the 2024 season, including replenishing their quarterback depth with the addition of Eric Barriere.

The six-foot-one, 210-pound passer played at Eastern Washington University from 2016 to 2021, suiting up in 51 career games. He was twice named the Big Sky Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and took home the Walter Payton Award as the top player in FCS football in 2021 after throwing for 5,070 yards, 46 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 13 games.

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Don’t give up on Filet Pignon too soon. Methinks that Ottawa has TOO MANY QUARTERBACKS in their bullpen:

“Brown joins a Redblacks team that has Dustin Crum, Jeremiah Masoli, Tyrie Adams, Tyrrell Pigrome and Jake Dunniway as quarterbacks under contract for the upcoming season. Nick Arbuckle is scheduled to hit free agency on February 13.”

They’ll have to part ways with most of them right? I think they’ll keep Dustin Crum and Dru Brown for sure. They MIGHT keep Jeremiah Masoli around if they can re-negotiate his contract. If not, Tyrie Adams showed a lot of poise for a rookie before his season ending injury so maybe they’ll go with him instead of Masoli.

That leaves Pigrome, Dunniway and Arbuckle on the chopping block with either Masoli or Adams joining them in the unemployment line later.

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They actually announced that they had renegotiated Masoli’s contract on January 15th and paid him a $45,000 bonus so it appears he will stay. He’s not expected to be ready for the start of the season so they’ll have room to keep one of the other QB’s until he’s healthy, but you’re right, they can’t keep them all.

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If we don’t get another shot at Filet Pigrome then I wouldn’t mind one bit seeing the likes of Tyrie Adams or Mason Fine in a Bomber uniform.

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It shocks me how little teams value players in this league. Dru Brown for a 5th round Canadian draft pick?

In what other league would that seem like an equivalent deal? Maybe baseball?

And the fact that players are often forced into re-negotiating contracts for the benefit of the team. I doubt there would be an instance where a player would go to the team and ask them to re-negotiate. Even if they did, I doubt the team would honour their request.

Actually receiving a mid to high draft pick for a player that will be a free agent in a month and wasn’t going to stay in Winnipeg anyway isn’t bad. That actually happens in all sports. Ottawa only received his rights and still needs to sign him. He could in theory still test free agency but it’s fairly certain Ottawa will sign him I would speculate as I don’t think any other team will give him a shot at being #1. In fact the Bombers could be said to have made out like bandits as they wouldn’t have received anything otherwise. Ottawa could have just waited and paid nothing but I guess they saw that as a risk they weren’t willing to take. There’s also a good chance the Bombers gave them permission to talk to his agent prior to the trade and a quick signing wouldn’t surprise me.

Renegotiating contracts is a different issue and doesn’t apply to Dru Brown.

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The Bomber scouts found Brown, Pigrome, and Streveler. They picked up Prukop in free agency, I believe, who turned out to be exactly what they needed/wanted. A very serviceable short yardage QB to replace Streveler. Pigrome was the next short yardage specialist who, in my opinion and apparently the Bomber’s brain trust, was deemed expendable when Prukop again became available. Pigrome has had more success in his role with Ottawa but didn’t show much with Winnipeg other than a three series impressive display that was aided by him being an unknown quantity. That’s a pretty meager sampling. Now, apparently, he’s seen as expendable by Ottawa as pointed out in other posts on this thread.

The real point I’m attempting to make is that the Bomber’s scouts have been successful in finding quarterbacks that fit their need in recent years. As an eternal optimist this leaves me hopeful.

Unfortunately for Winnipeg they can’t keep the heir apparent, Brown, due to cap restraints and the timing of his development vi-à-vis Collaros’ continued success. But, once again, I remain hopeful that the Bomber scouts can find another diamond-in- the -rough. (And there’s the Streveler wild card that may come into play)

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