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'We've had some really good discussion': Riders hint at locking down QB Trevor Harris


Canadian Football League (CFL) free agency is less than a week away and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are using these final few days during the league’s ‘negotiation period’ to try and lock down some key players.

“There are some positions that you want to add competition or want to improve or are changes but there’s not a ton of free agents for that position,” said Roughriders’ GM, Jeremy O’Day on the challenges that potentially lie ahead for the team.

A name that has garnered some major attention is quarterback Trevor Harris after TSN insider Farhan Lahlji took to Twitter on Monday.

Harris, 36, completed 71.6 per cent of passes in 2022 for 4,157 yards with the Montreal Alouettes.

“We’re obviously right in the middle of this window to be able to talk to players and we’ve had some really good discussions with Trevor Harris. They’ve been very positive and we’re excited about getting to the fourteenth,” O’Day said, alluding to a possible deal with Harris.

It is also rumoured that wide receiver, Jake Wieneke, could make his way to the green and white after some speculation on Twitter.

“We’ve had really good conversations with Jake and we’re just in a position where we’re waiting to get to free agency so that we can get to that point where guys are signing contracts,” O’Day added.

However on Tuesday, it was announced Larry Dean would return to the green and white. The linebacker signed a one-year contract extension. He finished second in the CFL with 108 tackles in the 2022 season.

“I think it was huge for Larry, his first season year having an Achilles injury was really tough on him. No one really knew him or had played with him. So Larry staying here the whole year in rehab he just really wanted to come back and we provided an opportunity to come back. He is a fantastic leader,” O’Day explained.

The team also signed defensive lineman Christian Albright. Albright was an undrafted free agent in 2022 and attended training camp with the Chicago Bears.

After it was reported defensive lineman Anthony Lanier II would test the waters of free agency, the rumours were quickly put to rest when the American signed a one year contract extension with the Riders this week.

“We started discussions with Anthony very early on in the process of free agency and we went back and forth with some offers. He made it pretty clear he wanted to get to the window and see what other teams had to say. But I think he’s at the point of his career he’s been in the NFL and he’s not a young player in the league by any means and you only get to play the game so long,” O’Day said.

Now the team will be left with the task of trying to lock down the CFL-leading tackler of the 2022 season, Darnell Sankey.

The middle linebacker is known to be a powerhouse. He recorded 98 tackles with the Calgary Stampeders in 2021. However, O’Day alluded to the salary cap being a reason Sankey most likely will not return to the Riders.

“There’s been a lot of talk with his agent. Obviously he’s one of our free agents so we can talk to him as much as we want. It’s coming down to him making a decision but you know the way things are shaping up we have to understand that you’ve signed so many players in certain positions and it’s really a matter of where he fits in the salary cap,” O’Day added.

However, an area the Riders will need to take a big leap in after a dismal performance in 2022 is their offensive line. With key players like Derek Dennis [CGY] and Drew Desjarlais [OTT] already signed amongst the league, the number of offensive lineman on the market will be limited.

“You have to look at the supply and demand right? There’s lots of ways of improving up front. Is it new players? Possibly. Is it getting better at what we do? Possibly. There’s a lot of ways we can try to be better,” O’Day said.

It comes as the Roughriders announce their overhaul of staff on Tuesday. The team announced former Rider Drew Tate, has returned to the club but this time as the team’s receivers coach. Tate retired from the CFL in 2018 and has served as a coach in both the collegiate and professional ranks.

Anthony Vitale will take over as the team’s offensive line coach. Vitale joins the Riders after spending the 2022 season as the Edmonton Elks’ offensive line coach. He has spent some time with the green and white as a guest coach in training camp from 2017-2019.

Defensive coordinator Jason Shivers, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kelly Jeffrey joined the staff back in December.

Special team coordinator Kent Maugeri, and assistant coaches Deion Melvin and Marcus Kline will round out the rest of the coaching staff.

“I think when we moved on from our offensive staff last year," O'Day said.

"I think that was a sign there is change coming." Top Stories

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