CFL Blitz: Early winners, losers of free agency
The Ottawa Redblacks have signed former University of Ottawa QB Brad Sinopoli as a receiver. Brad as he is interviewed by members of the Ottawa media. February 11, 2015. (Errol McGihon/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency)
The first few days of free agency are always the busiest, and with only three signings on Thursday it had officially slowed to a crawl.
So even though there are still a few big names out there just waiting to be snapped up, we figured what better time than now to see who got better and who got worse over the last 72 hours?
We have broken it down into three very simple to understand categories with the requirement of putting three teams in each one:
BETTER: RedBlacks, Bombers, Alouettes
The sophomore franchise in the nation's capital has added the most established talent without losing much. Then again, they didn't really have anything to lose.
The additions of left tackle SirVincent Rogers, along with receivers Brad Sinopoli, Greg Ellingson and Ernest Jackson are solid moves and give the RedBlacks and their fans some hope after their dismal 2-16 inaugural campaign.
The Bombers landed the best free agent in left tackle Stanley Bryant, and they added a potential starter in Canadian linebacker Sam Hurl.
Montreal is usually a quiet participant, but they added Canadian receiver Sam Giguere on Thursday night and will be hoping he can find his stride in his home province. The Als also grabbed Canadian running back Carl Volny from the Bombers.
SAME: Lions, Eskimos, Tiger-Cats
B.C. hardly does anything in free agency, and this year was no exception.
The Tiger-Cats got a little bit better, but they didn't hit a home run like last year. Bringing receiver Spencer Watt and running back Anthony Woodson on board was positive, but Sam Giguere had better numbers than Watt.
The Eskimos held on to returner Kendial Lawrence and made a smart move in taking a chance on Canadian offensive lineman Greg Wojt, but they lost a pair of Canadian foot soldiers in defensive back Chris Rwabukamba and linebacker Joash Gesse.
WORSE: Stampeders, Argonauts, Roughriders
Being the defending Grey Cup champs is always tough, as everyone's trying to steal your players. They lost Bryant to the Bombers, centre Brett Jones bolted for the NFL's New York Giants, Sinopoli went to the RedBlacks, and Canadian linebacker Keenan MacDougall went home to Saskatchewan.
Are they worse? Yes. Are they bad? Not even close. When you're as stocked as the Stamps are, you can afford to lose a little bit.
The Argos, who couldn't afford to take a hit, lost a lot of Canadian talent in Woodson and Watt, and they're down their starting left tackle after Rodgers went to Ottawa.
The Roughriders had a tough off-season with the loss of offensive linemen Dominic Picard and Ben Heenan, which was impossible to replace in free agency anyway. They still haven't landed a backup quarterback yet, either.
The Bombers have added Grey Cup winning player and coach Barron Miles to their coaching staff.
Miles will serve as the squad's defensive backs coach after spending the last three seasons in the same role with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Miles won a Grey Cup with the Riders in 2013, and he captured two championships with the B.C. Lions, as a player in 2006 and as a defensive assistant in 2011.
New Bombers defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall worked with Miles in Regina.
“I’m extremely excited to come over to Winnipeg and work with such a strong group of defensive backs,” Miles said in a press release. “I really believe this group is one of the league’s best and with such athletic and versatile players in the secondary, I look forward to helping them grow and ultimately having our unit help us in being successful as a team.”
As a player, Miles was a six-time CFL all-star safety and a nine-time division all-star.
“Barron brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our organization,” head coach Mike O’Shea said in the release. “He was so good in our league for so long, he can relate to players very well, and that’s a great asset to have on your coaching staff. We’re thrilled to have him on board.”
PLAN YOUR SUMMER
The CFL schedule will be released on Friday, likely around noon EST, and it could very well be a wild and wacky affair.
Thanks to the Women's World Cup taking place in stadiums across the country in June and July, and the Pan Am Games in southern Ontario this summer, there are likely to be some oddities in this year's 81-game slate.
The Argos never have a friendly schedule thanks to the Blue Jays having control over Rogers Centre, and the Pan Am Games are going to make it even worse for the Boatmen.
Geroy Simon is back where he belongs.
The B.C. Lions, who traded the star slotback to Saskatchewan in 2013 and watched him win a Grey Cup with the Roughriders, was brought back to the organization on Thursday as a member of both its football and business support roles.
Simon retired after the 2013 campaign and remained with the Roughriders as a scout last year, but now he's back with the organization with which he spent 12 seasons and won two Grey Cups.
The Eskimos signed import slotback Wallace Miles on Thursday ... The Tiger-Cats held on to defensive end Justin Hickman, who will be looking to regain his form after returning from the NFL midway through last season ... It's believed the Alouettes and Roughriders are still in the running for free agent quarterback Kevin Glenn, with the Bombers keeping a close eye on the situation as well.