Ottawa GM Marcel Desjardins might be well-advised to get aggressive about QBs.A key subplot with Monday's Ottawa expansion draft is the idea of pending free agents; there are many more than usual across the CFL this year, and that's reportedly thanks to teams electing to delay new contracts for their players (or at least the official announcement of those contracts) until after the expansion draft. That forces the new Ottawa franchise into a game of chicken, where they can either ignore pending free agents entirely or draft them and risk getting nothing for the selection. If we're to believe Redblacks' general manager Marcel Desjardins' comments to Tim Baines of The Ottawa Sun earlier this week, he'll be taking the former tactic, at least with regards to quarterbacks. However, that may be ill-advised, especially at that position. First, here's what Desjardins told Baines:
. "Some of the better young (quarterbacks) are free agents so we won't go that route, but there are at least three guys that are interesting to us, guys that are still under contract for next year. When you look at the list and see who's available, you're probably going to get an older guy and a younger guy."
There may be some value to the conservative approach of not taking pending free agents, as that does enable Ottawa to ensure they'll land players they draft. However, Desjardins and his staff will have to weigh the benefits of that against the perils of missing out on top players, and at quarterback in particular, that could be problematic. Keep in mind that there will be only nine starting quarterback jobs in the CFL next year, and most of them are already set: as discussed back in October, there are essentially two and only two landing spots for starting quarterbacks this offseason, in Winnipeg and Ottawa. The Blue Bombers didn't make a move for a quarterback before the Dec. 8 roster freeze (which prevented teams from trading with anyone other than Ottawa this week), so that lets the Redblacks essentially take their pick of unprotected quarterbacks (and each team can only protect one). If, say, Toronto's Zach Collaros is the top guy on their board, passing him over merely because he's a pending free agent seems like a poor idea. Yes, Collaros could theoretically refuse to sign with Ottawa and hit free agency in February, but where's he going to land? Winnipeg is the only real alternative destination where he could get an opportunity to start (and the salary boost that comes with that), and if the Redblacks take Collaros, they'd have exclusive negotiating rights to him for the next few months. The Bombers might not want to wait that long to solve their quarterback situation.Read More »from Conservative approach of avoiding free agents may not benefit Ottawa at quarterback