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...
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?