WINNIPEG – Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters has his work cut out for him this winter.
Walters held court with the media on Friday to give his thoughts on the season and to outline his plans for the off-season.
“Are we disappointed we haven’t won a playoff game as a group?” asked Walters. “Of course we are. Do we think we’re moving in the right direction towards that ? I also think that’s true.”
With their first playoff berth in five years Walters believes the club is on the right track, but he still has a long list of jobs this off-season, starting with getting his head coach Mike O’Shea a new contract. It’s something they’ve yet to discuss according to Walters.
“I want Mike O’Shea back as our head coach,” said Walters. “I expect it to go smooth. Mike and I, I think we respect each other and we’re friends and we’ll sit down. It’s basically gonna ask him where do you want to be? And if he wants to be in Winnipeg, I think we’ll work to make that happen.”
But the coach is one of many who need a new deal. Now that the one year contract has become the norm in the CFL the Bombers have more than twenty free agents. The Bombers don’t have a single quarterback under contract for next season, so getting a deal done with pending free agent QB Matt Nichols is atop the list of priorities.
“That ones got an agent so those never go as smooth,” Walters said. “Look it, I want Matt Nichols as our quarterback next year but players have agents to handle these types of things for him. I’ve dealt with Cameron (Foster) in the past and he’ll dig his heals in and we’ll be back and forth.”
Walters also revealed the club renegotiated the contracts of Justin Medlock and Stanley Bryant during the season to provide salary cap relief.
“Once we started getting a few injuries and we started doing things, I approached those two guys and asked if they would mind just changing a couple things around and they were more than happy to help out.” said Walters.
The downside is both players will now be free agents in February but Walters doesn’t anticipate there’ll be any issues getting them back under contract. After making a big splash in free agency the last two years Walters doesn’t see them being as big a player this time around.
“I’ve stood up here for two years and said that we really don’t want to go to free agency to build our team and spend wildly in free agency two years in a row,” said Walters. “So I think we’ve got a core group of guys I think the contracts are as such we’re set now.”
Despite their large number of free agents, the future still looks bright and thanks to the Drew Willy trade the Bombers own the Toronto Argonauts first overall pick in next year’s CFL draft.
WATCH: Raw Kyle Walters Media Conference
Blue Bombers unofficial list of free agents
- QB Matt Nichols
- QB Dominique Davis
- QB Kevin Glenn
- QB Bryan Bennett
- Rec Darvin Adams
- Rec Tori Gurley
- Rec Clarence Denmark
- Rec Thomas Mayo
- Rec Rory Kohlert
- Rec / KR Quincy McDuffie
- Rec Kieren Duncan
- OL Stanley Bryant
- OL Jeff Keeping
- FB James Tuck
- DT Euclid Cummings
- DL Brandon Tennant
- LB Khalil Bass
- LB Teague Sherman
- LB Jesse Briggs
- LB Tony Burnett
- LB Sam Hurl
- LB Justin Warden
- DB Julian Posey
- DB Chris Greenwood
- K Justin Medlock
- LS Chad Rempel