Over a month has gone by since the Ottawa Redblacks and the rest of the CFL entered the official free agent signing period and with the time gone by, there’s still a number of players available.
The free agency period brought light to Redblacks fans following a 3-15 season a year ago, and signing big name players like Arbuckle, Kanneh, Laing, Unamba and Coombs helps build a winning team. A winning team doesn’t always have to be perfect, as we’ve seen from our Grey Cup winning team in 2016 but to be able to win games you’ve got to have a complete team. Although we’re yet to see the team on the field together and theirs nothing to assess, on paper the Ottawa Redblacks roster is not complete.
On the field the Redblacks will have some hidden gems like they always are known to have, although on paper there are a few holes to fill. Luckily, there are still a couple of months left of the off-season to fill these holes.
One major hole that could use help filling would be at the receiver position. A year ago, the Redblacks lost both Greg Ellingson and Diontae Spencer, this year they lost Dominique Rhymes and Caleb Holley. With the losses the team has faced at the position, the only experienced receiver they’ve gained is Anthony Coombs who will mainly play out of the slot.
With that being said, in 2020 the Ottawa Redblacks will have (with CFL playing experience) Brad Sinopoli (9 years), RJ Harris (2 years), DeVonte Dedmon (1 year), Jerminic Smith (1 year), Malcom Williams (3 years) and Anthony Coombs (6 years). The list given may look okay but looking at the experience of these players, Ottawa should look for a veteran receiver to help groom the younger guys like Dedmon and company.
The free agents at the receiver position, is one of the strongest among positions. Now after saying that, who is available? Well out of the veterans available still Emmanuel Arceneaux, Luke Tasker, SJ Green, Derel Walker, Chris Matthews, Armanti Edwards and Canadian receiver Mike Jones.
That list of players gives the Redblacks a good group of players to choose from, but receiver isn’t the only position with a little help. On the same side of the ball the Ottawa Redblacks may need to fill a hole at offensive line. Since the start of the CFL off-season, Ottawa has released two offensive lineman both Philippe Gagnon and Stephane Nembot split time starting on the offensive line in Ottawa last year and the Redblacks might want to help fill those two holes.
Ottawa doesn’t necessarily have to go through free agency with the small signings made by the team but if they do, they’re bound to find a good offensive lineman. Available today, the Redblacks have 6 viable options. To keep up their all-Canadian offensive line they have 32 year old Ryan Bomben and 31 year old David Foucault, or to use an American veteran on the line they could sign Thaddues Coleman (34 y/o), Travis Bond (29 y/o), Derek Dennis (31 y/o) or even go younger with 27 year old Antonio Johnson.
All in all the two positions could use some help and the free agents available could do the Redblacks some good in 2020, so the Ottawa Redblacks are in a good spot right now. In a good spot, Ottawa looks to bounce back from a 3-15 season in 2019, so stay tuned for more moves out of the front office here in Ottawa.