The free agency storm has passed over in the Canadian Football League. With the majority of the free agents now signed, the focus for the teams will now be turned towards the CFL and Global Drafts. Before both drafts take place, the combines will take center stage during March.
Saskatchewan Roughriders Head Coach Craig Dickenson returned home to Montana after being in Saskatchewan last week. On Tuesday, he caught up with Brendan McGuire and Sean Kleisinger on the SportsCage.
Between 2009-2010, the Roughriders offensive attack was led by the “Royal Canadian Air Force”. Andy Fantuz, Jason Clermont, Rob Bagg and Chris Getzlaf were the nucleus for the Saskatchewan aerial attack during that time.
It may be too early to think the current Roughriders will put the numbers that the “Royal Canadian Air Force” posted during that two year run, but the one connection they share is that Canadians will be a strength of the Riders receivers in 2023.
Kian Schaffer-Baker was a “bonus” free agent signing for the Roughriders after it seemed like he was heading to the National Football League this winter. Despite attending several workouts, Schaffer-Baker did not put a pen to a contract and will be back in green and white for 2023. The 24-year-old had 960 receiving yards with five touchdowns last season.
Brayden Lenius is back for a full season with Saskatchewan after re-joining the team in late August after trying out with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons in 2022.
Last week the Riders added another Canadian receiver to their arsenal with the signing of Juwan Brescacin and Dickenson believes that he was an under the radar type of signing.
“Not too many years ago he was thought of maybe the best Canadian receiver on Calgary’s roster. ”
Back in 2018, Brescacin had 35 receptions for 567 receiving yards and three touchdowns with Calgary.
Another former Stampeder, the Roughriders have high hopes this season is Shawn Bane Jr. Dickenson said they plan to use him in a similar role that was occupied by Kyran Moore in 2022.
“An inside receiver position where he can get balls on handoffs, he can run vertical routes and clear the tops. ”
The biggest free agent signing for the Roughriders at wide receiver was Jake Wieneke. Even though he is a newcome to the green and white, Dickenson thinks the former Alouette will make a seamless transition to Saskatchewan.
Without mini-camps, there won’t be many opportunities for the receivers to get on the same page with quarterbacks ahead of training camp. Dickenson said that new Roughrider quarterback Trevor Harris is currently working on organizing a session in the near future where he can meet with his receivers before camp.
Training camps in the CFL open up on May 14.