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Re-Signing Zach Collaros Early Is Key To Bombers Keeping The Group Together!

As the calendar continued to roll forward and the CFL season was nearing the end, I had two questions that remained unanswered.

They were not unique questions, but they were important questions – at least to Bomber fans.

*What would happen to the team if the Bombers won a third Grey Cup in a row?

*What would happen to the team if the Bombers lost the Grey Cup in 2022?

What If The Bombers Won A Third Straight grey Cup?

Well we do not yet know the final answers, but this question is now irrelevant. However, I did wonder how many players would stick around if the Bombers won a third Grey Cup in a row. Not that I saw many of them heading to other teams, rather I thought some may choose to retire on the top of their career winning three in a row. However, had the Bombers won three in a row, you can be guaranteed that teams would be making a big push to sign some of Winnipeg’s free agents.

Winnipeg’s Free Agents

The Bombers have a fair number of free agents including some high-profile names and some lesser-profile names. Here are all the free agents for Winnipeg:

Quarterback

Dakota Prukop

Fullback

Mike Miller

Receiver

Rasheed Bailey
Nic Demski
Greg Ellingson
Janarion Grant

Offensive line

Stanley Bryant
Michael Couture
Jermarcus Hardrick
Patrick Neufeld

Defensive line

Keion Adams
Jackson Jeffcoat
Casey Sayles
Jake Thomas

Linebacker

Adam Bighill
Jesse Briggs
Shayne Gauthier
Les Maruo
Kyrie Wilson

Defensive back

Alden Darby
Desmond Lawrence
Mercy Maston
Winston Rose
Nick Taylor

Long snapper

Mike Benson

I will not speculate on which players may retire and which players may go after more money from another team…you can do that.

Zach Collaros Is The Key

When the news broke on October 18th of this year that Bombers’ quarterback Zach Collaros re-signed a new three year deal, some of my concerns were alleviated. I knew that if the Bombers lost the 2022 Grey Cup they would have an easier time convincing (to whatever degree necessary) players to stick with the team and not retire nor go elsewhere.

The Signings Begin

As of November 24, 2022 we already know that offensive lineman Pat Neufeld was signed a new one year deal. I would suppose it is a one year deal to see if the Bombers can win again in 2023. Do not forget that Neufeld is 33 years of age right now and likely does not have much more time left in his CFL career.

Willie Jefferson also signed a 1 year deal with Winnipeg on November 26. These one year deals do make me wonder if these guys are considering going for one more Grey Cup and retiring.

The Expected Signings

Offensive lineman Jermarcus Hardrick along with defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat are also rumored to be soon signing a new contract.

If you read between the lines, you can expect Adam Bighill to be back as well.

Bighill has made Winnipeg his home and has already started on his post-CFL career as a investment advisor.

How About Head Coach O’Shea?

This one gets a little bit interesting. Much like in 2019 this season ended without a contract in hand for Bombers’ Head Coach – and now back-to-back – Coach of The Year, O’Shea is again without a contract.

Mike O’Shea could dictate his terms to any team in the CFL, and we all know some teams could really use a new head coach. Some teams could also use a complete overhaul in their culture, and that is something O’Shea would bring for sure.

But do not expect O’Shea to reveal his hand.

I do not think this is O’Shea leveraging his position, rather this is how O’Shea works. He gets the work and exit interviews done and then focuses on himself. He is the epitome of team first.

https://www.tsn.ca/cfl/winnipeg-blue-bombers-mike-o-shea-no-progress-on-contract-yet-1.1883391

If you ask General Manager Kyle Walters here is what he has to say on the matter.

“I fully expect that will be the case again this year. I don’t really worry about it because it’s nothing new.”

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/oshea-resign-bombers-gm-1.6655464

If you ask me that sounds like the Bombers will give O’Shea anything he asks for…and to be honest they would be foolish not to. I would also imagine that in true Mike O’Shea fashion is ask will be very reasonable.

The One-Two Punch

As big a deal as signing Zach Collaros earlier in the year to help convince players to come back, signing Mike O’Shea soon would go a long way to seal the deal for other players. Mike O’Shea is man that every player loves to play for. Expect to hear sentiments like that as players re-sign for the Bombers.

So as Mike O’Shea continues to do the end of season work, Bomber fans wait with baited breath to see the third most winning Bomber Head Coach is back.

You heard that right! Mike O’Shea – with 67 wins – is only behind Cal Murphy who had 86 wins as a Bomber coach, and Bud Grant who had 102 wins as a head coach. Should the Bombers be able to lock up O’Shea to another 3 year deal, and should he average 13 wins per season over those three years, O’Shea would take top spot with 106 wins. If you ask me, that is certainly doable!

Either way, I believe one thing is certain. In years to come the Bombers will erect a statue of Mike O’Shea outside of their stadium.

What did I get right? What did you disagree with? Let me know in the comments.

Find all my articles here.

Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.

Stay with CFL News Hub for the 2022 season.

Follow me on Twitter @DonCruickshank1

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