Roughriders prepare for 2020 free agency
Saskatchewan Roughriders helmet (Twitter/@sskroughriders)
REGINA -- When the Canadian Football League’s Free Agency period opens at 11 a.m. Tuesday, don’t expect any blockbuster signings from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
"I would say that we're probably not going to be very active in free agency”, announced Jeremy O’Day on Monday morning.
The General Manager said the organization felt as though they entered free agency when the season ended.
“I think the conclusion for us is we really like the team that we have and we really want to get as many of those guys back as possible.”
Head Coach Craig Dickenson admitted he has a passive role, and “sits back and let’s O’Day roll.”
The Head Coach added, “The teams that you see sign a ton of guys have big holes. We don't feel like we have big holes, we feel like we've addressed a lot of our needs.”
One year ago, the Riders had big needs, namely signing a Quarterback. This year, that isn’t the case, with Cody Fajardo signing a two year contract in October. The security behind center has made it easier to put other pieces in place, and predict cap space.
There are some big names on the Riders roster that will become free agents if the organization doesn’t act. Solomon Elimimian, Naaman Roosevelt and Micah Johnson are a few that O’Day says they’re still in talks with.
“We're still in discussions with some of those guys…some of those guys will also be hitting free agency and some of those guys we don't expect to get back.”
The linebacker position currently has two starting vacancies, if Elimimian doesn’t resign. The other position opened up when Derrick Moncrief signed in the NFL. O’Day says he spoke with Defensive Coordinator Jason Shivers, who is confident they have young talent to step into those spots.
“We have someone to replace internally that can replace him [Moncrief]. Obviously we've had discussions with Coach Shivers and what his plans are for that position. He feels comfortable with some of the guys that are on our roster currently.”
Regina will be hosting the 2020 Grey Cup, which could provide extra incentive for players who are considering returning or signing with the Riders. However, it doesn’t provide any motivation for O’Day, “Are you trying harder because it's a Grey Cup year? If you're doing that, then you're not doing your job from year to year.”