I spent the first half of my evening listening to ‘The Drew Remenda Sports Show,’ which I RARELY do because Mitchell Blair is beyond obnoxious. But I listened, figuring they’d have a few guests on who could offer some insight into the deal.
I hit the jackpot. They broadcast Eric Tillman’s media scrum LIVE, which helped me calm down and realize that there were a lot of things I hadn’t thought about. Imagine that?
So, after ‘sleeping on it,’ here are my ACTUAL thoughts, as opposed to my gut reactions:
1. Kerry Joseph is 35. He only has a couple of good years left in him – if he has any. It ‘sure as sh*t’ (that’s the title of one of my favourite songs from Kathleen Edwards’ new album) could be that Joseph will never again play like he did last year. Many believe Kent Austin was the only reason Kerry was as successful as he was. Time will tell.
2. This was a pure salary cap move. KJ wanted a significant pay raise, and the Riders weren’t willing to fork over another $100,000 for one player. Tillman says he’d have had to let go 4 veterans to make room for KJ’s desired raise. I think the number 4 is an exaggeration on the part of ET, designed to sell the trade, but there’s no question something would have had to give – especially since the Riders had the most free agents out of all eight teams, and their Grey Cup win demanded that a significant amount of players receive raises. The upside? Tillman can now extend the contracts of other players. And just ask yourself: how many quarterbacks in the CFL are being paid north of $400,000? Ricky Ray, Casey Printers and Henry Burris. And where did those teams finish? Two didn’t make the playoffs (granted, Printers was a mid-season signing) and the other went out in the semi-finals.
3. It was about the same time last year that Tillman was almost tarred and feathered for releasing veterans Andrew Greene and Nate Davis. And look what happened – John Chick, a guy no one had heard of before the season – came in and stole the show. Tillman can find talent.
4. KJ needs to give his head a shake. I understand he took a pay cut last season. I get that. And I get that he was the league’s MOP. I get that, too. He certainly deserved a raise. But $125,000? Give us another dream season, and THEN you can make that kind of dough.
5. Was it not possible for KJ and Tillman to agree to an incentive-laden contract? Bonuses for reaching a certain amout of TDs, rushing yards, passing yards, all-star team, etc?
6. Toronto WILL unload Michael Bishop. There’s no way in hell he will go back to being a backup. No way.
7. I still think the Riders got fleeced in the trade, but I honestly don’t think they had much choice. No other team in the league needs a starting QB, except maybe Winnipeg; who knows what will happen there with Kevin Glenn. In other words, there wasn’t any incentive for the Argos to offer a big name in return. The Riders needed to unload Joseph now, or risk him walking as a free agent after 2008, and get nothing in return. The Riders have a couple of good prospects in Flemons and January and a good draft pick. But it’s not much considering they’re giving up a ready-to-play player.
8. I’m surprised how calm most people are about this. I think Tillman has cast some sort of spell across the province, because the ratio of irate people to those who trust Tillman leans heavily in Tillman’s favour.
9. But I am not satisfied with our QB situation. I like Marcus Crandell, but he’s a pocket passer. He doesn’t have the mobility of a KJ. And KJ’s mobility is one of the reasons he did well last season – as did we. Remember his Labour Day-winning TD run? I have a hard time seeing Marcus doing the same. The Riders will have to make sure they have a more than solid O-line around Crandell. He needs to be protected to be successful. But having said that, maybe he’ll thrive as being the undisputed number one around here.
10. Does anyone else find it odd that teams like the Lions and Stamps can pay their QBs oodles of money and maintain their elite players while we are forced to give up our because of the salary cap? Are these other teams playing over the cap, or are they just better at negotiation? Or are players happy to play for less in Vancouver and Calgary because of the amenities the cities offer? Just askin’…