Free Agent's

OK Grey Cups over for another year, so who are our free agents this year?

Weston Dressler
Drew Willy
Alex Hall

Here is a list of all the free agents http://cfl.ca/article/market-bound-2014 ... gents-list

Riders have both running backs and both kickers on the list as well as Willy. Looks like we won't lose either kicker or quarterbacks in the draft unless they pick Sunseri.

Here is the Riders list:
Graeme Bel, RB, Non-Import
Craig Butler, DB, Non-Import
Weston Dressler, SB, Import
Alex Hall, DL, Import
Aarron Hargreaves, WR, Non-Import
Victor Harris, DB, Import
Brent Hawkins, DE, Import*
Kierrie Johnson, WR, Import
Abraham Kromah, LB, Import
Terrell Maze, DB, Import
Jermaine McElveen, DL, Import
Chris Milo, K, Non-Import
Graig Newman, DB, Non-Import
Jock Sanders, RB, Import
Ricky Schmitt, K, Import
Kory Sheets, RB, Import
Taj Smith, WR, Import
Drew Willy, QB, Import
Paul Woldu, DB, Non-Import

There are some big names on that list. Luckily both our offensive and defensive lines stay pretty well the same. Our receivers could be a question mark

I see 11 players Riders will want to keep if they can, It will depend who wants to stay, who wants to try south of the border, and the Draft coming up, Was on CFL site a lot of free agents this year, so if we loose key players, I am sure a few of those may want to come here to fill those holes. Until the draft is over, I am not sure who if any will sign with respective clubs! Or which players the clubs wish not to lose may play a part as well. Going to be a players year I think when it comes to signing!!

Time will tell, any other thoughts about who stays here!!

I don't see alot of the free agents getting signed for awhile. Ottawa says they aren't going after free agents in the draft and why would they and until a new cap is determined, I think both sides want to wait before they start talking money.

Rumor mill has it both Dressler and Sheets want to try the NFL If they can't get on a team they will be back to the Riders. I would think if that is the situation Smith may get a pretty good offer. I would try and lock up Saunders to stabilize the running back situation. Yes Sheets is first choice but no guarantees he will be back so I think its important to have the insurance of Saunders. He has better hands for receiving then Cory does so screens are more of an option with him.

Graeme Bel, RB, Non-Import
Craig Butler, DB, Non-Import
Weston Dressler, SB, Import

Alex Hall, DL, Import
Aarron Hargreaves, WR, Non-Import
Victor Harris, DB, Import
Brent Hawkins, DE, Import*
Kierrie Johnson, WR, Import
Abraham Kromah, LB, Import
Terrell Maze, DB, Import
Jermaine McElveen, DL, Import
Chris Milo, K, Non-Import
Graig Newman, DB, Non-Import
Jock Sanders, RB, Import

Ricky Schmitt, K, Import
Kory Sheets, RB, Import
Taj Smith, WR, Import

Drew Willy, QB, Import
Paul Woldu, DB, Non-Import

I bolded all the guys that I'd like to see them keep. Woldu is a guy who likely will be back, but he's not a "key" free agent, although he's a great special teams guy.

Dressler is an obvious must, and I would have to think a pretty easy re-sign if a fair offer is made. He could easily be one of those guys who holds out for CBA ratification as he will be a hot commodity.

I do wonder where Sheets head is at. Will he be going for broke and demanding every last penny, or will he compromise? I could easily see him in an Esks jersey next season.

Woldu was the pleasant surprise of the season IMO. I think he is capable of rotating in more, and is of course a local guy. would be nice to retain him for sure.

I believe Butler will explore FA, and believe there is a strong chance he will be gone.

I can't see Kromah sticking around...he will want to play.

Maze is good, but not at the top of my priority list.

this would be my order of priorities...no, Willy is not on there...if you get him back, great...not a huge concern though IMO. If either Hall or McElveen sign, the other becomes a lower priority.

Kory Sheets, RB, Import
Weston Dressler, SB, Import
Alex Hall, DL, Import
Jock Sanders, RB, Import
Chris Milo, K, Non-Import
Craig Butler, DB, Non-Import
Ricky Schmitt, K, Import
Jermaine McElveen, DL, Import
Taj Smith, WR, Import
Graig Newman, DB, Non-Import
Terrell Maze, DB, Import
Abraham Kromah, LB, Import
Paul Woldu, DB, Non-Import
Aarron Hargreaves, WR, Non-Import
Kierrie Johnson, WR, Import

I am rather alarmed that we really heard nothing on mid-season re-signings / extensions, though most clubs are like this with a new team and CBA coming in.

I can't see Ottawa not selecting any Free agents. That league wide list has some special players on it. If some of these guys are not protected because their clubs feel they are free agents and therefor not of interest to Ottawa, they have another thing comming. Take away a lot of these guys and it's pretty slim pickings on who Ottawa can get their hands on. They will take a number of F.A's and have the right to negotiate for a couple of months, and sign a lot of them. I'm thinking Willy is gone from Riderville, the guy has what it takes to get it done IMO. Sure there will be a 10 or so game learning curve, to go through the ups and downs, but he is the best available for Ottawa, compared to the Colaris, Tate, and Demarcos, that are out there. I hope they take him for Willys' sake, the guy deserves a chance at number 1 or 1A. He and Glenn would be the ideal for Ottawa IMO.

That's why Dressler is a must, and Sheets! I also think , if I am a free agent, and RedBlack's draft me, I can hold out on my contract and then sign where I want!! JMO If I don't wish to play there in some ways this is gonna be a good year for the players that are free agents!! Sheets has already said only team he wants to play with in CFL is the Riders, time will tell!

I gotta be honest, the more I look, the more I am really only worried about Sheets, Dressler and Milo.

Can they really afford this much depth on the DL? Coleman and George are sitting.

I rather like how the Riders are going into FA overall to be honest.

I’d hate to lose Schmitt as well, to good a punter to lose!!

Here's my feeling on FAs. If Ottawa drafts a FA and he does not sign with Ottawa then it is a draft pick wasted. If a FA is willing to sign with their club before the deadline then he was not interested in moving to another team and Ottawa would have likely lost out on that pick in the end as they would have drafted him and he would have likely signed back with his old club.The FAs at the deadline in Feb will be fair game for all teams and Ottawa will have their chance to go after FA players then. Why waste a draft pick when there is no guarantee of signing them. If I'm Sheets I know where I would play, behind the best O-Line in the CFL and that is why he will resign with the Riders as long as they pay him fairly. I can see Willy maybe making a move to another team if the opportunity is there, he deserves the chance to play and he won't see much behind Durant. I am also high on Sunseri, so to me, losing Willy won't be a big deal.

Based on my gut feeling about Ottawa not drafting FAs, I believe that BC and Hamilton have the most to loose in the draft. They have fewer FAs, resulting in more players to pick from on their rosters and possibly higher quality player.

There are several unknowns to truly get an idea of what could shake out. Here is the list:

  1. The new CBA. How much will the salary cap increase for next season? $200K? $400K? $600K? How many free agents can you retain with extra dollars??

  2. What is OTTAWA's strategy? They say they won't select Free Agents... And to me, it makes sense. They get access to 24 players. 8 Imports and 16 non-imports. Pick the best of guys that have contracts, put faith in your camps and scouting process, and then sign Free Agents to fill holes. This is the best chance for them to have as many players in their system as possible... And it allows them to sign free agents that actually want to go to Ottawa. Some Free Agents may not want to go through a rebuild, some won't care. And it also gives them the ability to trade guys back to teams for draft picks if they really wanted to. It is an option!

  3. Anderson, Smith and Riley... Guilty? Not guilty? Who knows what will happen in the courts. And when is the verdict??

  4. Who goes to the NFl? Current rumors suggest Hall, Sheets and Dressler... all Free Agents! We saw what happened to Fantuz when he went. He came back half way through the season. Well that's not necessarily the best scenario when key guys are gone for first 8 or 9 games. And then there is the possibility they may not come back..

I Think the CBA is the biggest what if.... Next is the draft. Who goes? Who stays? Once draft is complete, a lot of questions will be answered for many teams. But it will also raise further questions too!

Now to the Rider situation... The best scenario would be to lose Drew Willy to the REDBLACKS. If the Riders lose a QB, they can't lose a kicker, and they get to protect 1 or 2 more non-import spots in first NI round for losing a QB. I honestly think the difference between Willy and Sunseri is small. Sunseri would not be as anxious to be a starter.. He would likely hold the clipboard for a few years while DD is still in his prime. So, IMO, sign Willy first. But then, if Ottawa is interested in him, what is their wage tolerance for a guy with less than 5 CFL starts? So you can't sign him for too high, and you can't sign him for too low! What is the happy middle??

Next, they have to sign Saunders. If Sheets does go to the NFl, at least Saunders knows the system. Hopefully the mid season healthy scratch episodes didn't upset him too much, and that he wants to come back. Next, tell Garrett to get ready in off season so he can compete in camp

Sign Milo... Sign him after the draft. If Ottawa selects him, you still sign him. Might cost a few extra $$, but IMO, he is worth it. He can punt if required, so that has to be considered as well...

Talk to Butler before the Expansion Draft to get a feel for what he is asking for. Rumors say he would go East to be closer to family (like Fantuz). Can't pussy foot around either. Have to find out what he is thinking. And you tell him you ARE NOT signing him prior to draft, and you ARE NOT protecting him either. Be up front with him to not hurt feelings. If he wants to stay, and the price is right, you lock him up afterwards. If Ottawa selects him, and he wants to be back, you sign him from Ottawa. If he wants to go, let him. It will suck, but what can you do? Then you put your faith in a Newman or Hurl, and use Butler's salary space to keep other key guys.

Which 4 Canadian Lineman do you protect first round of NI round? Likely Heenan, Best, and Labatte for sure. After that Picard? Clark? Watman? Can Watman play Center? I believe it is either Watman vs. Picard. Your other 2 Canadians protected are Getzlaf and Shologan. With emphasis in this league that a strong OLine is a 100% priority, you would likely lose Picard or Watman in your first round. Then you get to protect 6 more guys second round.

Make sure you sign Woldu and Newman.
If Dressler and Sheets do not go to NFL, they are a must to lock up.
If Hall goes to NFL, make sure you sign McElveen. If Hall does not go to NFL, I think you have to pick either him OR McElveen. And then get Evans rotating in there.

Last but not least, GET DD signed to a 3 year extension (Minimum). IMO, Sign him for more $$ than Burris, but less than Ricky Ray. He should be paid between those 2 guys.

Hall - nope...he has his time in already....no team is going to sign what will be a 29 y/o guy who is indentured into the NFL retirement plan if he sees another game. Is he good enough...sure...but it is extremely unlikely he will get a look unless someone is pretty positive he will be a dresser...nobody will sign him for PR.

Sheets - see above.

Dressler - 5-07 and 28? Unlikely. If he was going to go, it would have been his last FA crack.

The way the NFL works now with vetted players and that retirement plan, NFL teams are pretty unlikely to look at guys who are really close to becoming vetted.

I would hope McElveen gets drafted by the RBs. You still have George, who IMO is better, but McElveen more durable. Personally, I would be trying to sign Hall hard right now, and then trading away one of the DEs or leaving one open as a draft. Which is a touch call.

As far as signing Milo after the draft even if he is drafted....no, once he is drafted he is gone...it would still count as a NI draft, as he is NOT an unrestricted free agent right now, nor at the draft. Personally, I wouldn't be re-signing anyone right now unless you are potentially looking at them as a pawn in the draft. The exceptions are Sheets and Dressler, who I would likely protect even as FAs if you think there is a good chance of re-signing them.

For me I have Terrell Maze up a lot higher. He is shut down. Probably the best DB we have had since Frazier or Eddie Davis. And he is more versatile than either of those guys in that he can play corner as well as half. Best player in our secondary. For me he is a must sign (and that is only partly because I just got his jersey before the Cup, :rockin: )

Here is the CFL list of FA's:

[url=http://cfl.ca/article/market-bound-2014-potential-free-agents-list]http://cfl.ca/article/market-bound-2014 ... gents-list[/url]

some interesting options there depending on who the teams protect or gamble on.

They just may not sing anyone as of right now. Ottawa will have to think about taking players like Woldu or Newman if available in the second Canadian round as both will probalby just ready to sign back on with the Riders. Newman looks like he is really going to be something. Kromah has already shown he can play so your right he probably will look for a place who will give him a chance to play. If they think he can play MLB then the Riders may just give him that chance.
If they leave Butler unprotected and unsigned, although they want him back and he wants to come back, he has to thin about getting top $$$ and Ottawa may just give him that. Hurl may be key in protecting to play that Will LB spot