Tuesday marks the start of the free agency period in the CFL, though the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have already had an active offseason.
The club has secured the majority of its players that were scheduled to hit the open market, as well as adding two key players who didn’t have to wait in Darian Durant and Adarius Bowman.
“When you go and add Adarius like we did, you reshuffle the salary cap. We’ve gone through all these scenarios and it’s just now, wait and see how everything unfolds,” Blue Bombers GM Kyle Walters explained to reporters Friday. “As you get closer to a Grey Cup-calibre team, which I believe we’re heading towards, we’ve transitioned to being a solid football team. To get to be a championship football team, there’s less roster moves to be made but they’re more scrutinized.”
“It’s been an interesting couple of months in regards to the group of us trying to figure out what the best plan of attack is. I think it’s the toughest part in all of sports, to get over that hump.”
Standing at the podium, Walters carried his top secret cheat sheet listing who of the Bombers pending free agents are still a target for the club to resign. But he wasn’t about to share names publicly.
“There’s a few still green spots on this page, free agents we’re trying to sort out. I’m not going to get into the specifics of if they’re going good or bad. It’s a long, ongoing process,” Walters said.
He wouldn’t comment about how talks are going with TJ Heath, Jamaal Westerman, and Sam Hurl, but he did confirm a few names that won’t be appearing in Blue and Gold this summer.
“Mike has talked to Travis Bond, Clarence Denmark and Dan LeFevour to this point. Travis, it’s just from a ratio standpoint. Just being an American guard, we’re going to transition with the group of Canadians that we have. Clarence has been a loyal, solid football player but we just decided that we’re going to move in a different direction.”
Walters admitted that this has been a challenging off-season, and said he understands why some players might want to dip their toes in the free agent waters first.
“Everybody’s going to have 20 free agents and when you become a competitive football team, your players become more desirable to other teams. The intrigue for certain players to go out and test the market, to see what the value can be, it’s understandable. It’s very difficult to piece together and keep everyone here that we’d like to keep here when you’re dealing with that hard salary cap.”
CFL Free Agency officially gets underway at 11 a.m. central Tuesday.
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