Wes Cates re-signs

One down, a bunch more to go, especially MD!

You had me surprised there for a second.

Methinks the title of the thread should be "Wes Cates Re-Signs" instead of "Wes Cates Resigns".....he didn't hand in his resignation, thankfully.

Good signing in any event, Eric still has his work cut out with the long list of potential FAs over there.........

I can't believe the Riders have so many free agents. Could signing, though. :smiley:

The Riders had even more FA's last year, so this pile isn't as huge. Looking at the list, I'm afraid Szarka will not be offered a new contract, because of his age. unfortunate, but that's the life of football.

We dont need him.

I really like the Cates re-signing! He's likely not going to lead the league in rushing yards, but he's the perfect fit for the Offense the Riders have, he's good at everything. Great receiver out of the backfield, great blocker, and he gets the job done running the ball.

It’s not that we don’t need Szarka; he has been underutilized, and as a result, has become a spectator rather than a regular contributor. I suspect Tillman will be checking the college ranks to see if there are any bruising canadian fullbacks coming up. If there are, bet on Szarka not being re-signed.

I think Szarka will likely be offered an new contract. I just have a good feeling he's not gonna like it. We're over the cap, he's old and expensive, he'll be expected to share playing time with Neil Hughes. Every direction I look in says that Szarka will be asked to take a substantial pay cut. So it'll probably be up to him, but I have a feeling he'll test FA. Just my prediction.

I can also see Holmes being asked to take a pay cut. He's not a starting RB anymore. He's definitely #2 calibre now. His salary is too much for a primarily special teams player. He's still moderately effective but it's obvious his big return days are over. I guess it'll all depend on how Kahill Hill (never looked very good in the few games we saw him) does on returns in training camp and how good of a training camp RB Reggie Bradshaw has when he returns from the NCAA (if I remember correctly he made the team but opted to play out his final year of NCAA eligibility).

I don't think Bradshaw even attended camp last year, did he?
He certainly didn't make the team.
You are thinking of Rob Bagg.
I think we need to bring back Szarka for at least one more year. I think he still has some gas in the tank.
We have nobody right now that can assume his role on the team.
Hughsie is a great guy, and a good role player, but he does not bring the size and blocking to the table that Szarka does.
Then we draft a big bruising fullback, get him into camp and let Szarka mentor him for a year before throwing him into combat. Plus Bradshaw.
But going into next year with only Hughes as a returning Canadian RB would leave us very vulnerable in that area.

As for the cap, we are likely over, but primarily because of the enormous quantity of injuries we had this year.
Assuming a more normal year in 2008 in that regard, we likely don't have all that much cap pressure this year.

Szarka is still only 32, I bet he sticks with the Riders for a couple of more seasons.

We dont NEED him. Im not saying he doesnt have anyting left, Im just saying we dont need him, because we dont.

Why not? The fullback's primary responsibility is to block and I honestly don't think there's anyone who we could acquire that would do a better job. I'm assuming that we keep the FB as a non-import spot when I say that.

Sorry, Jman.
I am going to flat out disagree with you on this one.
First, let's dispell a myth.
For years we heard how under utilized Szarka was, when in fact, we use our fullback to carry/receive as much or more than any team in the league.
So it is important that the player in that position can hang onto the ball, as well as block.
Next, Szarka is arguably THE best Canadian fullback in the league. Even at 32 years of age, I can't honestly think of anyone better.
Next, we are horribly low in depth at that position--likely the worst in the league. After Szarka and Hughes, we have nobody.
To enter next year with only Hughes and some maybes we drafted would be crazy. We should have, minimum, 3-4 Canadian RBs at all times.
Canadian RBs are not just important on offence, but linebackers and RBs generally are your best special teams guys.
Is Szarka THE most critical freeagent this year?
No.
But I think he has two years left in him, and assuming the coaches agree, we do NEED to sign him.
We'll be better with than without.

'Nuff said.

Well, how did we do without him this year when he was out? Pretty good.

I guess it doesnt help that I dont like him either.

I'm not among the legions of fans who adore and worship him either Jman, but he is still a good fullback.
The only question is his age.
We did okay without him for a few games (we did okay without Cates as well, but I wouldn't want to go the whole season without him either), but as I pointed out, had Hughes gone down---and he has a history of injuries himself--we would have had 0 Canadian RBs. And while I do like Hughes, the facts are, he is not a fullback, and in 4 years he has had 6 touches. I don't think you can leave the job to him.

Even if this Bradshaw guy comes to camp, and we keep him, and we burn a high draft pick on another kid, a true fullback, who also looks good enough to keep, that still just leaves us with what I think is the bare minimum number of Canadian RBs we need.
And by having Szarka to mentor the rookies, it will pay long term. And it usually takes a couple of years for a CIS fullback to develop. Few are ready to start as rookies.

Cates is wayyyyyyyyyyy more important.

But it could be argued he plays a position easier to replace though. When you throw the whole ratio thing in it makes those Canadian players so valuable, especially the starters.

I'd like to see Hughes continue to develop, though I'm not sure if he's big enough to be a true fullback.

Wes Cates is actually pretty hard to replace... Show me one other starting back who has the skill set he has with the blocking, catching, and running abilities.

I don’t think there currently is one in the CFL right now, but all im saying is that the pool that Tillman dips into to bring new talent into the league is much larger for an American runningback with that skillset than a Canadian fullback.