Good decision Willie. Had you and your family decided to go elsewhere you’d have missed out on that smokin’ mild Winnipeg weather we’re expecting thanks to El Nino. At last… a winter that won’t try to kill us. You’ll be glad you stayed.
Not at all surprised. IMO this year it’s Willie or Jeffcoat. I see Dru & Schoen leaving, Oliveira staying. Miller is an obvious retirement - Bryant likely as well. At worst, one other on OL, two sometime starters @ DB - Darby & Rose I’ll say. If the Bombers are serious, they have to look at a half dozen of the soon to be 33 & over crowd to be thinned out. Bighill is signed up but should retire.
And then there’s this from O’Shea.
“I don’t look at our roster right now and look down the list and say, ‘Yeah, here’s a couple of guys that have aged out.’ They’re just too good and they work too well together. You need that experience.”
So, if Michael has his say, nothing changes. Of course, he admits he never retired as a player from the CFL. He just wasn’t asked back.
The question is - with Lawler & Demski signed & due increases in year 2 from their 250K & 175K contracts how much does a team invest in 3 WR’s? Schoen’s agent knows the going rate established the last couple of seasons is 250-300K for a top guy. Lewis, Lawler, Whitehead, Duke all set the market there. With the CAP expected to be 5.585MM, that’s a full 20% commitment on 4 players when you throw Collaros in there.
Somebody is going to pay Schoen & I just don’t see the Bombers winning an arms race there. Look, last year the Bombers tried to get Desjarlais but he got 250.5K from Ottawa. And Wpg has all 5 of their veteran OL up for FA also. You gotta be careful how you spread the money around.
You asked for the opinions of Bomber fans. I agree with most of what you say except for Jeffcoat.
Since Brown has indicated he wants to start somewhere he’s probably as good as gone. I would rather have Streveler or Filet Pignon in any event. I think Prukop is gone as well. At least I hope so. Big mistake signing him over Filet in my opinion.
Agree that Miller, who didn’t even play this year, is an obvious retirement and shoo in HOF’er as a result of being the best special teams tackler ever to play in the league. Jake Thomas a probable retirement as well. Bryant as you mention possible but less likely than the other two. He would have to take a decent pay cut to return which would free up money for elsewhere. They will have to pay Hardrick more if they sign him which they probably will.
As far as the secondary is concerned, Darby and Rose as good as gone and both were benched in the second half of the season and saw no playoff action. Holm a young and budding all star DB and Parker an up and comer that only needs some experience. As far as I am concerned Houston can go as well. His riverboat gambling style cost the Bombers frequently and most notably in the Grey Cup. Even though he led the league in IT’s he gives up far too many big plays. Who was Fajardo picking on in the GC with the game on the line? In my opinion their most important free agent signing is Nichols. Easily the best DB in the league. No other DB narrows the field and makes it easier for the rest of the defence simply because no coach is foolish enough to throw to whom he is covering, especially with the game on the line. I’m surprised he’s not in the NFL and could easily play there but his size and speed probably hold him back.
I can’t see them keeping Schoen either purely for financial reasons and Schoen has said he wants to be paid and he will be. On paper he’s the best receiver in the league the last two years but actually Lawler is the league’s best receiver. Demski stays over Schoen because of his passport only which is ridiculous but the way things work in the CFL.
I agree that Oliveira will likely be back. The NFL doesn’t treat running backs very well these days and they are easily replaced and a dime a dozen. I’m not saying he can’t play there but expect that NFL politics will keep him out of the league. A running back from Winnipeg over a major US college guy? Doubtful. I suppose he might possibly snag a PR spot like Streveler and Rourke but he would even be less likely to play than those two and I’m not sure he wants to join the NFL to watch. It’s likely that Augustine is gone unless Brady leaves before he does. I’ve always liked Johnny and believe if given the chance he will shine. A totally different runner than Brady. More dynamic and explosive and faster but not the bull Brady is and smaller and probably less durable. Still, I would be comfortable with him if Brady left and no doubt several teams will show interest in him. Depending on what he is offered the Bombers might still keep both if they have the opportunity. I hope the Bombers can keep Brady after what is likely a career year, but even if he left I think he would be back before long and that it is more important to keep Nichols.
With Jeffcoat and Jefferson the Bombers have the best combination of defensive ends in the league. It’s the interior of the D line that needs considerable work. I thought Jeffcoat should have been league defensive MOP the last year Bighill won (or was it Jefferson?). No one is better at forcing fumbles. He once forced 3 in one game. Since that time however he has struggled with injuries as we all know. He had an excellent year this year after he returned from injury and was a force. Realistically however it appears he might only be good for 12-14 games a year. He would need to have an incentive laden contract and if I remember correctly he played under one this year for about $175,000. He would need to take a haircut of some $25,000 I think but still that’s not bad for12-14 games. I don’t know that other teams would offer him considerably more given his age and injury history. I also doubt that he is interested in playing anywhere but in Winnipeg. I think the biggest risk to him not returning is retirement. We don’t know how bad his injury is but it appears he has a chronic hip problem. He may just be fed up with that and prefer to be able to walk when he is 40. All things considered I’m calling for him to play one more year with the Bombers.
Totally agree. In 2022 they were dominated on both sides of the LOS, especially in the 4th Qtr. When you give up a 9 point lead, have your opponent @ 2nd & 15 & can’t close out the game, you need help. When your 2 MOP’s on D combine for 1 DT all game, there’s a problem. The offence was completely shut down by the Argos with Winnipeg having only a ST TD to show for the last Qtr & change of the game.
If this hadn’t happened again in 2023 you could ignore it. But 2nd & 18 this time, under a minute left & 3 consecutive explosion plays of 13, 31 & 19 yards for the loss & you have a problem on D. More concerning is that you get outscored 21-7 in the 2nd half by the Als, who couldn’t score TD’s all year.
In a 9 team league all you have to do is make the playoffs and improve I’m last 4 games if the season… Ang go into the playoffs healthier and playing better football than the first 8 or 9 games if the season.
So many teams over the years have done exactly this to win the the cfl championship game… After all we have never awarded the grey cup for team production for the first 4 or12 games have we.
Can’t disagree with you. Actually I had Thomas down as well - an accidental omission. I’ve been heard saying here that IMO the Bomber DT talent is lagging behind most of the CFL. They have no stud there. The question is how many of the old guard does a “loyal” O’Shea cut? He sure sounds like he wants to bring the gang back.
My quibble about Jeffcoat is his “injury” history. There’s a reason he has only 1 West or CFL All-Star in 2021. He’s played 12 games/year every year till 2023 when he had the incentive of a $10K bonus for playing at least 12. He’s missing 1/3 of the season most years. You can find younger, cheaper options. Big ticket for a 33 yr old that likely gives you a dozen games.
This will be an opinion, probably not liked by the BB faithful. The Bombers host the big game in 2025. That is the year that you really want to build for now. Many of the BB players are very well loved BUT are getting older and while they have great experience and know where to be and what to do, their bodies do not always agree (no way Bighill gets beat for that TD 5 years ago). The other great cast that you have are going to want to be paid more as well. Your O-line has been awesome for the past few years but they are also getting older and those that stay need to be compensated eating up money for everyone else. Ask any Rider fan, the o-line is where it starts. Without them Oliveira gets hit a lot more and beaten up. Collaros gets hit a lot more (very risky) and can’t get the ball to those great receivers. While it may be very painful, rip the bandage off this year and get some continuity and experience for the replacements in 2024 to play in 25. Otherwise you will have even more turnover at the end of 24. Jefferson still has game and will be a force in 24 but will be 34 by the GC in 2025. Over the hill by no means but still not as good as he was when he was 27 or 28. I agree that you want to keep him but I think you can replace Jeffcoat, after all Jeffcoat himself replaced someone else. Great DEs are wonderful but they are out there to be discovered. I am not saying to gut the team but strategically replace the players that may be becoming more of a liability (financially or skillwise) this year rather then next.
True about Jeffcoat but it’s a tough one. Watching every game he plays I am still amazed by his combination of speed and power when healthy and his nose for the ball and football sense. He can be a one man wrecking crew some games. He also makes Willie better as the opponent can’t just double team him all of the time. If the Bombers have to replace the interior starters on the D Line I am guessing they would prefer not to have to replace Jeffcoat as well for another year. We’ll see.