In a rapid, but predictable free agent splash that seemed to follow Kyle Walters’ plan perfectly, the Bombers used free agency to upgrade certain positions and to fill other holes, signing seven total free agents.
But that doesn’t mean the work is done until June for the Bombers’ front-office, as many things still need to be addressed.
Sooner or later, to the dismay of many fans, Kyle Walters will need to make some tough decisions regarding a plethora of high-priced, veteran players. The Bombers are, evidently, pressed right up against the salary cap, and while teams don’t need to be under the $5,100,000 cap ceiling until the season starts, it would make sense to make these decisions now so the American scouting department can focus at bringing in more talent at specific positions.
Financially, it makes sense to release Clarence Denmark, Zach Anderson, Greg Peach and Bryant Turner Jr. – especially the latter two. But if there’s one player I’d really like to see the club hold onto, it’s Denmark. The recently-turned 30-year-old had a down-year in 2015, but in reality, played with a whopping five starting quarterbacks – Drew Willy, Brian Brohm, Robert Marve, Matt Nichols and Dominique Davis – and is one year removed from a stellar 65-catch, 1,080-yard campaign in an incompetent Bomber offense. He’s a great leader and stands out every year in training camp.
Given the Bombers’ recent inability to find American receivers through free agent camps and scouting, without Denmark, the Y-position in the offense could be a drastically ineffective position once again, as it’s been for a long time.
Another veteran who’d I’d like to see stick around, at least until training camp, would be Zach Anderson. The six-foot-three, 295-pound defensive tackle was playing at a high level in 2014 before tearing his ACL, an injury that bothered him all the way through last season. It’s unlikely that Anderson is making anything more $85,000/season and could work great in tandem with Euclid Cummings, if, that is, he makes the team.
The front-office’s main focus at the moment, however, is likely the CFL draft. There’s currently only four Canadian offensive lineman under contract at the moment, so expect the team to take a pair in the draft. And as usual, I’d hope the Bombers spend a pick on a wide receiver annually until they find a capable and consistent pass-catcher to backup Rory Kohlert. It doesn’t need to be a second or third round pick, of course, as last year, the Alouettes found, potentially, a gem in Alex Charette with the final pick in the fourth round. Uncovering a receiver of that caliber late in the draft would be a great coup for Kyle Walters.
The Bombers would also be wise to draft another running back, fullback, defensive tackle and defensive end.
The final question marks are at boundary halfback, defensive end and right tackle, which are the Bombers are relying on their scouting department to fill. Luckily, the Bombers have had great success finding defensive backs so far, bringing in Maurice Leggett, Johnny Adams and Bruce Johnson. They also already have at least a small amount at stability at defensive end and right tackle with Justin Cole and Jace Daniels, respectively. But both players need some serious competition in training camp to better themselves and the team.
It’s one of the many tasks that the Bombers’ front-office still have to address this off-season.