Jack Bedell's free agent shopping list

On Feb. 14, the first real event of the 2008 season kicks off – free agency.

So far this off-season, there have been a few hot-stove tidbits to keep fans involved, but the real action starts next week...

Well, here's my take on Jack's top ten:

  1. Armour; yes I agree he'd be a good pickup; however I think our 2 OLBs (Hill, Ferri), are more than adequate such that I don't think signing Armour would be a priority (although I concur that he's better than Hill and Ferri, just not THAT much better).

  2. Canada; no argument, sign the guy, we need a pass-rushing defensive end desperately.

  3. Clovis; he'd only be in consideration had Boulay not left.

  4. Cody; always liked this guy, monster hitter in the secondary...but I would not misuse him the way Hamilton did last year, putting him at safety. I hate it when teams try to force square pegs into round holes. The guy is a shutdown HB, play him there. We've already got Drew and Cox, so I don't think we'll be chasing Cody.

  5. Dominguez; intriguing. We do need a deep threat receiver, but the budget may keep us away here....that and his history of injuries. Probably best to find some young US college speed merchant who'll come cheaper.

  6. Holmes. I don't agree with Jack's saying that there is still gas in this tank. I think it's over for Mr. Holmes. We've got Levingston, let's use him.

  7. Myers; not familiar enough to express an opinion.

  8. Onyenegecha. I like our secondary as is (miss Boulay at safety, but Onyenegecha is not a safety), all our secondary needs is better pressure on opposing QBs from the line. No need to go after this guy.

  9. Robede. I'd sure take a look here, especially if we don't sign Romero.

  10. Tompkins; same as for Holmes; we have Levingston, no need to sign another returner.

What about signing 1 of our own FA in Romero.

As per the following french article, looks like he’ll test the FA market.

Yes well that is why I said what I said in point #9.

I'm with you there, X, but I was only looking at the out-of-house guys for the column.

Jack, Holmes kept the Riders' offence in business last season catching screens and flare-outs on second down. The big play might be gone from his game, but he can (and will) still move chains for some team. Plus, he's a high-character guy who shows people how to work.

I'll admit it--I'm a Corey Holmes fan. I don't think that clouds my judgement here, though. . .

Jack, I would never question Holmes' character and desire. Just don't think we should pursue him. Our greater needs are in other areas, in my opinion: offensive line, defensive line, deep threat receiver. If we address those satisfactorily and there is still money in the kitty, then sure. But I doubt it.

Im not sure about No 10
Tompkins IMO has more good years ahead of him than Levingston does

But Levingston has a proven track record we need returning kicks.

Agreed but I meant that because we have Levingston does not mean we should not go after Tompkins

I think Corey used properly could be of great use to Trestman. I think its a given Trestman will try to be creative and experiment. I think the Als should make him an offer.

Armour and Canada would add size to the defense but still leaves a huge hole at MLB position. I don't know how it would affect the ratio but if ferri can cover, I think he might be a good fit at Safety position. I suspect Romero will follow Chris Jones to Calgary. I suspect a couple teams will pay whatever to fix their problems and sort things out at training camp regarding roster spots/budgets.

However none of this addresses the Als biggest problem. The Oline...The only lock going in to camp should be Scott Flory. Chiu needs real competition at camp. Bourke's health is unknown (to fans anyway).

Zero news on Calvillo's situation...

So at this point Als have question marks at the following positions and very few of these have available FA's and the two defensive linesmen will be pursued by Calgary,Winnipeg,Hamilton,Montreal and possibly Saskatchewan.

Quarterback -
Running Back- Holmes
DL- Canada and Romero
OT- GoodSpeed

Popp and Desjardins have a real tough job ahead of them...

That's a pretty good analysis I'd say HfxTC. Can only quibble about a couple of things.

I'd rank our priorities as follows: O-line first, D-line second, MLB third.

On that basis, Goodspeed is the first guy we should be talking to, and Canada second.

I think we're set at QB. Even if AC doesn't return, I have always liked Brady and thought he looked pretty good last year, Joshua Harris I think can be a star in the CFL, and then Proctor and Banks can fight it out for third string.

I think most of the budget for new players should be on the two lines and at MLB. Those are our weak spots. I would put Holmes way down on the list of priorities, at best he'd be a part time player, and we need fulltime help on the two lines and at MLB that must be addressed first.

I wonder, if we signed Armour (who I do like a lot), if either he, Hill, or Ferri could make the move inside to MLB? Or even Anwar Stewart or Kashama? Just throwing out ideas.......

I'm cool with Brady at QB. The question regarding Calvillo's status impacts Popp big time money wise. If Calvillo sits out the season Popp has anywhere from 300k to 400k to alocate elsewhere.

As far as converting Ferri or Stewart to MLB. I am not a fan of converting someone at the pro level. If you look at the last two years the Als tried to convert their best athlete on defense (Kai Ellis) to the position and it is very difficult. Having said that if you find a MLB then you can have Ellis play off the end. He may be a fine replacement for Stewart.

Goodspeed, my issue with him is that he is an import and Popp has always avoided playing an import at that position but it has worked well for BC. If Proux can start at Safety you might be able to fit Goodspeed in the lineup but it really changes how ratio is planned.

I can see Armour in place of Ferri. I love the way Diamond plays the game but I am not sure LB is the best fit with the size of the new crop of RB in the league. Again if he can cover, safety might be where he could shine.

Yes well we're going to need a safety, for the first half of the season at least. Think Ferri has the speed for it?

Ferri displayed one of the most impressive two-way performances of the modern football era, playing for Syracuse on offense at running back and on defense at [b]safety[/b] in a victory against Boston College during the final game of 2004. Playing on nearly every down, he ran the ball 28 times for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns on offense, and sealed the upset victory with an interception return for a touchdown late in the game.
I think so :)

Should be interesting. Priority should be: