Bomber fans patiently – some impatiently – awaited the opening of free agency to see what their team would look like for the 2023 season. This is a Bomber team that was in the last 3 Grey Cups, winning 2 of them before being narrowly defeated in the 2022 Grey Cup.
“Dating back to the contract extension signed by quarterback Zach Collaros in mid-October, the club has inked 18 players who were pending free agents, among them starters Stanley Bryant, Willie Jefferson, Jermarcus Hardrick, Pat Neufeld, Jake Thomas, Adam Bighill, Winston Rose, Desmond Lawrence, Jackson Jeffcoat, Nic Demski, Alden Darby, Jr. and Kyrie Wilson, specialists Janarion Grant and Mike Benson and key Canadians like Mike Miller, Shayne Gauthier and Jesse Briggs.”https://www.bluebombers.com/2023/02/13/free-agency-preview/
That still left some notable names off the list. But the Bombers did not disappoint! There was some healthy skepticism leading up to free agency that the Bombers may lose a bunch of notable players. But the magician, Bombers’ General Manager Kyle Walters, had a few more tricks up his sleeve. Walters was able to show Bomber fans some love this Valentines Day as it marked the opening of free agency.
Before Free Agency
The Bombers were able to secure a deal with linebacker Jesse Briggs before free agency officially opened. Briggs played his whole career in Winnipeg dating back to 2014.
During Free Agency
As free agency opened the Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced the signing of Les Maruo. Having played the last two season with the Bombers this linebacker made a big impact in the 2022 season recording 14 defensive tackles and 13 special teams tackles.
But the Bombers did not stop there! While the original ask was astronomical – $1,000,00 for 3 years, the Bombers did strike a deal with Kenny Lawler. Lawler will certainly bolster the Bombers’ receiving crew.
It is hard to argue with a General manager as talented as Kyle Walters. But when Walters says that Lawler is the best receiver in the CFL I take some issue with that.
If you simply compare Lawler’s 2022 numbers against the Bombers’ 2022 receivers then Lawler would be in 4th place when it comes to touchdowns and second place in yards, and in 6th place (receptions to attempts) with Bomber players over 20 receptions. However with the Bombers having 13, yes that is correct 13 tweets about Lawler today you do have to wonder how much they are paying him- clearly they are high on him.
On The Outside
Finding himself on the outside was Bombers’ receiver Greg Ellingson and quarterback Dakota Prukop. With injury issues in the 2022 season I was not surprised to see the Bombers take a pass on re-signing Ellingson.
“It would not surprise me to see something like this shake out: the Bombers re-sign Jeffcoat, then the next couple of signings are mostly offensive linemen, next they sign a wide receiver or two (Nic Demski and either Rashed Bailey or Janarion Grant while Greg Ellingson is not re-signed) and then we see a lot of line backers, defensive linemen, and defensive backs signed.”https://cflnewshub.com/cfl-news/blue-bombers-who-will-be-at-the-mysterious-autograph-signing-who-is-next-to-re-sign/
Dakota Prukop also was not able to able to come to a deal that he liked with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and instead will be playing in the USFL. As per Ed Tait the Bombers will be looking for a certain skill set as they find a new short yardage quarterback. Ed Tait said,
“Bombers will look for a Streveler type QB to run short yardage packages”https://twitter.com/EdTaitWFC/status/1625568268399349768?s=20&t=z07ngr9OlKR3NA0-7FLhUQ
Of course that has fans ramped up once again talking about Streveler coming back, but it was more of a comparison as far as I can tell then and indication that there are talks going on with Streveler.
Ed Tait recently had an episode where they took a deep dive on the Streveler topic.
Unable to ink a deal in the NFL, and with the NFL window now closed, Dalton Schoen should be heading back to Winnipeg as they own his contract rights.
Where Does That Leave The Bombers?
They Bombers have quite significantly skinnied down their free agent list. Fans are still hoping that Baily is re-signed, and some hope the Bombers find another kicker.
Taking a look at their free agent list, I expect the coming days to be more quiet and not a lot of action coming from the Bombers…but time will tell.
Find all my articles here.
Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.
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