Spare Change

The Riders are in an enviable position with depth at the moment, and I am wondering...do they release, trade or hold on until expansion draft? Let's set cap aside and look at some aspects...

9-game IR:
The most prominent figure on the list must be Patrick Neufeld. Now, he isn't going anywhere...they can ill afford to lose a NI who can line up as a Tackle, and are likely to lose at least 1 OL in the expansion draft, more likely 2.

Mike McCullough...one of my favorite Riders and IMO one of the most underrated and overlooked players around. Simpson was a beast at LB, but I felt the D ran better with McCullough in there, especially against the run. That said, what do you do with him? Sam Hurl is not getting action and he is a solid young prospect. Do you continue to 9 game him the entire season?

Graeme Bell - to be 33 this season, 34 next...I have to think is gone...and that is no knock on his abilities, but the Riders have Spencer more (10 years younger), Daryl Stephenson (who can line up as a FB if need be), Scott McHenry (who is great as a combination threat as a reviver), and even Aaron Hargreaves can step in.

Hargreaves is on the 9 game...He has not seen a pile of action, but I like his size as a NI. I see him staying either "injured" or on the PR and winding up unprotected in the expansion draft, and not getting selected.

Scott McHenry has a bumbed shoulder now and is 9 gamed. He has been worked into the offensive so beautifully subtly, and has been money with his grabs. The last 3-4 games in 2012 he was the most reliable receiver hands wise, and yes that includes Dressler, and is just picture perfect on the subtle roll out...he is so good at getting guys to bite that he is blocking on the end...then boom..He will be back on the Roster no doubt. He is versatile, so you know Chamblin loves him. He can play FB effectively, and has experience at it, he is just big enough to play TE, he can block, his short roll outs are top notch, and he has enough speed to stretch a D on a big set...I hope he stays a Rider, but I am not convinced they will have enough room to protect him...that said, I don't know if the RedBlacks will go after a FB/Utility player with their picks. Can't wait for him to be back.

Kierrie Johnson - he seems to have some potential, he has wheels and can cut. Like BC fans said...great receiver, who was let go purely because of amazing young depth. I'd like to see more from him, but I don't think we will in Rider green. Look for him to be in perhaps a Bomber jersey.

Milt Collins - he has been injured a few times, and I fear at this point that may cause a release. The man can hit...wow, and he is capable of shutdown coverage. Russ will be gone before Collins is, but Macho Harris has stepped up in a huge way. Personally, I think it is a battle between him and Prince Miller...who I have been hard on, but looks better not only game to game, but within games...and has serious wheels.

Zack Evans - He has not missed a beat while playing...remarkable for a young lineman with limited action. I have a feeling that he will be 'injured' the whole season, unprotected and the club will hope to keep him under the radar.

As for the injured list...
Neal Hughes...another 33 year old FB, same scenario as Bell all around. Likely to be kept around the season due to McHenry being out.
Macho Harris...he is a big factor in the secondary, obviously
Abraham Kromah - they are sitting on a solid LB here. He will obviously not be protected, and would be playing if not for the move to bringing DBs forward. He has been kept around for insurance in case that plan didn't work out.

So out of all of this I pick 3 players...
Mike McCullough - basically said if the Riders had not re-signed him he would have retired, so it is unlikely you can move him.

Sam Hurl - He is not going to stick around for special teams. The Riders made moves in the Draft to get this guy, and he surpassed expectations last season, and now sees no action. Do you look to move him...perhaps for a draft? You have McCullough, who fits your needs for the season, you are unlikely to protect Hurl at this point, and he is a pretty good target for the expansion draft...if nothing else, he is gone after next season in free agency.

Abraham Kromah - Who would have thought he wouldn't be playing...oh right..."injured". Do you keep him as insurance? I mean, you have Brian Peters on the PR, and Tristian Black can step in in game time need...or Ferri in a pinch (though he is a little undersized. I could see the Cats having interest in a guy like Kromah.

Some food for though anyways. You can't keep them all and keep them happy. Do you make a move?

I would keep Hurl over Mccullough. Mike seems like a stand up guy and great team guy, but his career is winding down. We have some pretty impressive depth, but at this point we'll need it as we'll see a few losses in the expansion draft. Too much depth is a good thing. Injuries will add up over the season, at some point everyone will make a contribution.

It is sad that this happens just as the Riders are finally putting all the pieces together.

We were the biggest beneficiaries when Ottawa folded, as Kerry Joseph led us to a Grey Cup win and Jason Armstead had a solid year and a half and eventually got us Corey Holmes and Chris Getzlaf (what a trade :smiley: ).

My point being that you can keep McCullough for a couple seasons no problem. He is not going to get picked up by the Redblacks, and even if he did, he is winding down his career anyways. I would rather keep Hurl, but is is so gone come free agency anyways, and if not then, highly likely in the expansion draft. Would it not be smart to get a pick for him to assist in replenishing Canadian talent...I see him not used, and good as gone anyways. Kromah, McCullough and Peters are all good backers not playing. Hurl is holding down the bench along with Huclack...you can not retain all of these guys.

I am not saying move everyone, but I think moving one of them would be wise. Kromah seems to make the most sense, as I don't see him getting action under the present D's philosophy.

Yes it is, finally got the right guys, now this, but all clubs will suffer the same fate! We can only hope that the main core stays, and can fill in the holes when the time comes. Who knows what will happen come training camp in the spring, maybe we find a few guys close to what happened when Sheets arrived, going to be an interesting season next year, time will tell!

I miss Corey Holmes :frowning:

Depop a pretty insightful post.

I think I am forced to not disagree with your thoughts on Hurl? You are correct.............unless Butler gets hurt, Hurl is not going to get alot of downs on D. The progression you paint isn't wrong, you can only protect so many Canadians and we are going to lose a player or two?

Another twist to all of this is player contracts. Butler is in his option and is FA come Feb. Ottawa might not pick a FA fearing they get and accept outside offers? If the team can't sign Butler is might not get protected. Why protect a guy that is a FA unless you are sure you can resign him? I hope he resigns and I think he and his agent would have to agree. He's playing alot of downs and is a big part of this defence.........another team out and offer brings no guarantee?

O-line - you are correct. Right now we have 5 darn good Canadians playing on the line. Like the situation you painted about Hurl.........the same applies to Watman. The club likely does not protect Picard and allows a spot to open for Watman. But which lineman are the odd man out from being protected. They are all playing really well and Ottawa is going to get a very good O-lineman from the Riders. That is assured. The depth we have behind the scenes...............is it good enough to step in and play (Mr. Dan Clark).

Every team out there always talks about at the end of the season how next year will be different, changes will be made. This offseason this will get elavated 3 notches because of the extra step involving Ottawa.

Think about QB. I think it is a given we protect DD. He has 3-5 very good years ahead of him, at least. But the other part of this decision is agreeing that we're okay losing Willy? I am not okay losing Willy but that becomes the reality. Willy is another option year player needing to be signed? Willy likely plays FA regardless much like Mike Reilly did last year..........at 26 he is ready and wants a chance to play. Hamilton, Bombers need QB. Maybe Montreal does if Calvillo retires!

Maybe this season is one where teams heavily delay signing option year guys and forcing Ottawa's hand a little bit? Or the opposite will occur where teams maybe offer a little more to lock down key Cdn talent and protect them from Ottawa? I guess it depends on the player and I see Butler as being part of the 2nd part..........we need to sign him and protect him.

Tricky tricky.

I think we will see A LOT of FAs not resigned at Feb 15. If you re-sign them, you have to protect them. Those who do get re-signed will be for bigger money, if it is a core player he will be protected anyways, and if he is not, then Ottawa may not want to pick up a fat contract on a rebuilding (or just plain building) roster.

there is a couple months between the draft and FA season, so there is no need to sign everyone. The guys you want signed are the ones you want to protect AND....big and...the short list of who you figure the RBs will go after/have at the top of your list. A wise GM will be looking at all of the other teams and anticipating who they will protect. You should be able to bat 90% on that or there abouts. Now you take that and build a nice matrix by position of people you feel will be protected, and another of unprotected.

So for argument sake, lets say there are 12 starter caliber NI DT in the league (random number...it doesn't matter). You figure that there is a high probability of 10 being protected...well, protecting your DT becomes more important. Conversely, if there are say 6 unprotected and you figure 1-2 are better than yours but a given team has higher priorities to protect in round 2, you leave your DT open anticipating that another team's DT will be taken.

Also, you may have a spot that you feel you have strong redundancy of talent. This is where signing high probability draft prospects lays. If you have a guy that you figure the RBs will likely want, you better make damned sure he is signed or they will just pick up another guy and try to nab said player in free agency. There are going to be guys that you want to have signed that are just too tempting for the RBs to not pick, so that you can save another guy...kinda the look at the shiny object game...look look look at the pretty object...ignore all else...yeah...

I look at some of these guys who are FAs that you know you are not going to protect, that are not playing more than ST, that are going to play FA to try to get more rotations, and that you have someone else who can fill in...even if not quite as good....man...I would be wanting to get something out of a couple of them now. Guys who are not happy about their playing time have a golden opportunity if they are a FA this year...the ball is purely in the court of the players with contracts coming due...new entire roster to be filled and new revenue from the TV contract!

It would be a fascinating game of chess to be a part of!

Yes Very true. It will be interesting g to see how the team plays its first game as the redblacks. All new players trying to gel, I don’t see them making he east playoffs.