I also can’t agree that Castillo was a gift. A shrewd and timely trade for the Bombers and at least an out of the playoffs BC team got something for him. And you are correct in that he was critical to their success in the Grey Cup and arguably he should have been the MOP.
The Bombers just signed Mourtada and it looks like they will try the Mourtada/Legghio tandem to start the season. I was impressed by Liegghio’s (I had to look it up and that is how it is spelled on Bomber website-someone needs to buy a consonant and a vowel) improvement this year, and although he isn’t the best punter in the league just yet, he did his job with a more than respectable GC performance and consistently out kicked Hamilton’s guy. While not mentioned often, this was probably as critical as anything to the Bomber’s being in a position to win late. They simply dominated the special teams and especially the punting.
Despite his early wobbles, the Bomber brain trust appears to remain high on Mourtada. It certainly appears that he may have the most length of any CFL place kicker. To quote the immortal Bob Uecker, his problem so far was that too many of his kicks were “just a little outside”. L is Canadian while Mourtada is considered American even though he was born in Sierra Leone. I don’t expect the good people of Sierra Leone would agree with that.
It would be great if Castillo stayed, yet believe that to be highly unlikely because of numbers and $. He is also American. Not many teams want to carry two kickers, at least one of which is American, for $ and ratio reasons, if they can avoid it. And given the fickle job security of football kickers, I wouldn’t blame Sergio for going after every dollar he can get while he is hot, because he could be out if football a year from now.
I think the Bombers viewed Castillo as a rental from the start. He just came to BC from the NY Jets and I am sure an NFL job is his #1 preference. The way kickers are cut in the NFL after missing even one important kick sometimes, that is not unrealistic. I noticed that that the Saints recently pulled Brett Maher from the bottom of the aquarium or the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, or wherever he was residing.
Even if Castillo doesn’t make it back to the NFL, Winnipeg will be easily outbid by another team due to the Bombers being right up against the cap. Just like this year, the Bombers will have 10 weeks or more after the start of the season to decide that their experiment is a failure and that they need another kicker. By then Maher will almost certainly be available and he can come full circle and return to where he started his CFL career, just like Castillo did.
It's not length that concerns me, Jon. It's accuracy. The Bomber trio were a combined 11 for 23 on FG's. That's awful.
I agree with you - it was a steal by the Bombers. Steal/gift, toe mate toe, toe matt toe. Call it what you like.
I already called it a shrewd move by Walters, which it was. I don’t think BC did poorly either. They only had a few meaningless games in reality left in the season and were probably resigned to losing Castillo. At least they got something out of a player that no longer had much of a trade value.
I have no idea at this point whether Mourtada, although recently signed, will actually play for the Bombers again. His signing is probably an indication that the Bombers don’t expect to be able to keep Castillo.
I agree that accuracy was the Bombers weakness this year, but accuracy can be improved upon through practice and coaching. Distance can’t be significantly improved this way.
It is ironic that a horrific kicking team all year would win the biggest game of the year largely because of excellent kicking.
We recognized the problem and a solution presented itself in the nick of time (all the way from the NFL). Kinda like Bond when he was chained to that nuke in Goldfinger. Only seconds away from detonation SOMEONE ELSE stepped in and saved his butt. Sure it was luck. But Bond is Bond right? He makes his own luck.
Didn't we get kinda lucky in 2019 when we aquired Collaros in a last second trade? Or have we become the guys who make their own luck?