Realty One

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


1. REILLY ISN’T RIDERS ONLY OPTION: The quarterbacking shortage in the CFL is real. Never before in my 27 years of following this game have I ever witnessed such a small collection of elite QBs.

But Mike Reilly isn’t the only elite option. What about Bo Levi Mitchell?

Think about it.

Bo is NFL-ready and he knows it but probably won’t sign for less than a $200k plus signing bonus. That might be a stretch for an NFL team looking at a 29-year-old rookie who they might not project to see the field anyway.

Calgary Stampeders GM John Hufnagel likes to play hardball with veterans commanding high salaries (see Charleston Hughes and Jerome Messam just to name a couple of recent examples). They weren’t quarterbacks like Huff was or Bo is, but don’t assume Mitchell gets a better offer from Calgary than he could from Saskatchewan.

Go after Reilly first because he appears to be a more realistic get. But if that fails, don’t give up, Chris Jones. Take a run at Bo as your plan ‘B’ before succumbing to inferior options.

2. NEED BETTER RECEIVERS: A position of strength in 2017 was anything but in 2018. Shaq Evans and Caleb Holley were no Duron Carter or Bakari Grant. John Murphy has to correct this glaring deficiency over the winter in order for whomever the new quarterback is (hopefully Mike Reilly or Bo Levi Mitchell) to have any toys to work with.

Re-signing Patrick Lavoie wouldn’t be a bad idea either if you’re going to overpay for a Canadian starter. He looks like a better option than any of the other Canadian pass-catchers they have under contract right now and his versatility to play receiver or fullback doesn’t hurt either.

3. ARGOS SHOULD HIRE CHAMBLIN: Why not? He played a pretty big role on two championship teams over the last four seasons he was in the league. He was a great coach here before his ego spiraled out of control after winning Grey Cup 2013 which sealed his exit from Regina. He’s probably learned from that by now. If Chamblin succeeds with the Argos, look for him to get NFL consideration.

4. LEOS SHOULD HIRE LAPO AND RICHIE: Weston Dressler owes much of his 11-year career to the brilliant schemes drawn up by Paul LaPolice. I’m sure Lapo would tell you he owes much of his career to Weston, which is probably also true, but it’s been the coach who figured out how to best utilize Dressler’s 5 foot 7, 168-pound frame.

Point being: Paul LaPolice thinks outside the box in order to make chicken salad out of chicken (something less than salad) with his offenses. This happens to be exactly what the B.C. Lions need right now. Richie Hall should tag along and run the defense. Maybe the morons in Winnipeg will appreciate what they had in Richie once he’s gone.

5. MEXICO LINK TO ARGO PRESIDENT MAYBE?: This is purely speculative but hear me out. Mexico is a soccer country. Toronto FC soccer president Bill Manning has a long-standing connection to North American soccer leagues.

Mexico doesn’t appear on the CFL’s radar for its first 60 years until this past August, seven months after Manning was named top dog for one of the league’s vital big market franchises (the Toronto Argonauts) which happens to be hemorrhaging losses.

Some coincidence, isn’t it?

It’s great that money-losing teams are willing to write the cheques without digging into our pockets out west but sometimes they get a little pushy in telling the league how to run its business. Bruce McNall and Larry Ryckman did it in the 90’s which nearly bankrupted the CFL with ridiculous marquee player salaries and bush-league American expansion.

I just hope the Canadian Football League and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment don’t give Bill Manning too much rope to do the same with any of his own wild ideas.

6. REGINA PATS BLOCKBUSTER: The Lethbridge Hurricanes overpaid for Nick Henry and Jake Leschyshyn. The draft picks and players coming back should pretty well replenish the cupboard raided for the Pats' run over the past seasons.

But it made sense for Lethbridge to overpay for a couple of guys they won’t have in 6 months. By knocking Pats GM John Paddock’s socks off with an offer he couldn’t refuse, the Canes get these great assets 6 weeks BEFORE the trade deadline, creating a better chance for these players to integrate with their team and be more than just a typical rent-a-player arrangement which rarely works out anyway.

It’s clear that ownership gave Paddock a clear mandate to avoid a repeat of the last Regina Memorial Cup hangover when it took the Pats 6 years to get past the first round of the playoffs.

7. DID YOU KNOW: The Prince Albert Raiders are on pace to win 65 games this season? The all-time CHL/WHL record is 60 wins by the 1980-81 Victoria Cougars goaltended by Grant Fuhr who did it in 72 games.

This is shocking to those of us who follow the WHL. Jared Dumba and I agreed on Saturday’s Access Pats-Raiders broadcast that winning 65 games isn’t realistic but neither was starting 26-1 either.

The Raiders have been getting fat on some easy opponents in a weak Eastern Conference. Their true test will come in January on their 5-game west coast swing. Then we’ll talk.

8. HUMBOLDT PAYMENTS: There was never going to be a way to satisfy everyone but the advisory board/courts came as close as humanly possible in dividing up the $15 million bucks raised from the GoFundMe campaign after the awful bus accident back in April.

What would I have changed?

The surviving players permanently disabled probably would have received a bit more than the others. Living in a wheelchair is crazy expensive. But that’s just me.

Thank goodness someone else had to make those decisions.

9. HEXTALL DESERVED FIRING: Mike Stackhouse has been beating this drum for years but I’ll say it again. Long-term rebuilds are a fraud. Tanking for the better part of a decade isn’t good management worthy of reward. The NHL needs to change its draft lottery ASAP to discourage this behavior. Good on the Philadelphia Flyers for making this point clear when they fired Melville Millionaire alumni Ron Hextall from their General Manager’s chair.

10. BEST PART OF WILLIAM NYLANDER SIGNING: We can listen to Sportsnet’s talking heads again now that we don’t have to listen to the non-stop drivel about how this negotiation was going to end.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)


Dan said...

NFL minimim salary is $495K USD or translate that to $640K CAD. Add in a reasonable pension plan if he can stick on a roster for three years. If I was Mitchell I’d be very happy to take that and sit on a bench. There are a few teams with garbage at starter, he could have a shot, you never know.

Larry said...

Sorry, there is no way we will be able to sign Reilly or BLM.
Only plausible QB will be Jennings, which I am okay with.
Kid needs a fresh start and won't break the bank.
Not many options available for the Riders.

Russell Cone said...

I am very disappointed that the Pats made this deal now.

The trade deadline this past January is unlike any I ever remember. So many deals.

I was hoping for a repeat but I guess the 'Canes were having none of that. Could on them to get their deal done. A high price, but I think a good deal for them short term. 2 character guys with "hearts as big as bathtubs".

Russ from Saskatoon

Football Fan said...

1. Reilly is priority #1, after signing Jones to a long term contract that is, and we have a good shot at getting him for obvious reasons, but I agree that we should always have a plan B and C. I think our chances of signing BLM away from Calgary are between slim and none, but why not give it a try? We've got nothing to lose, and Jones is a "no stone unturned kind of guy." I really like Ray as a plan B as well. We were the second best team in the league last year so we're looking for a guy who can take us that last step, a championship QB. We also could use a young developmental guy, but first priority after signing Jones is to find that last piece of the puzzle to win a championship. If we do sign Ray, however, we're going to need a very good OL and some RBs who can catch to act as outlets, but I think we already have those. And I think we're close with the OL. I'm not sure we've ever seen this many top tier and potential top tier QBs available as FAs, and we were the second place team this year, so we're going to be an attractive option and I'm sure we'll get one of them.

2. Our receiving numbers were down but I don't think that's because we lack talent in the receiving corps. JWL, Evans, Moore and even Cannon showed quite a bit. I think there were two issues this year. One was these guys are young and young players make mistakes, and the other is that I think we were being conservative with Collaros to protect him. That said, I wouldn't be opposed to brining Carter back this year, assuming he can Jones have a talk and can come to some agreements. Carter was a model citizen in TO so maybe he's finally learned his lesson. And if it turns out he hasn't we could always cut him. We did that this year and still ended up in second place.

3. I agree that the Argos should and I suspect will hire Chamblin, but I don't think he was arrogant here. I think he saw the massive contracts being handed out to certain players, waaaaay more than they were worth, which killed our cap space and meant that we had no chance to compete with the top teams, and he just quit and forced the team to fire him. He didn't want to be part of that and I can't really blame him.

4. I don't think the Leos should hire Lapo. Hall, otoh, would be a great get, but Washington does a pretty good job there as well. Lapo didn't look very good as a HC last time and I wouldn't go that way if I was them. Claybrooks gets talked about a lot these days and they may well go that way, but to me he doesn't carry himself like a HC so if it was me making the decision I don't think I'd go that way either. Kent Austin maybe?