February 16, 2021

Cauz: Imagining FA signing’s messages to fans

Edmonton Football Team

This is normally the spot where I would do my best to go over the litany of free agent signings, tell you which one’s intrigue me the most, scream to the heavens about how could Player X still be available and maybe if I’m feeling really good about myself I’d assign grades to has “won” free agency.

Of course, the whole concept of giving out grades when the ink hasn’t even dried on free agent contracts is ridiculous but be honest, you read them as much as I do and you feel good when some writer says you team got an A-. Admitting it is the first step to recovery.

Official Free Agent Tracker 
Still Out There: Top free agents still available 
Sudden Impact: A team-by-team look at free agency
More free agency headlines

However as this site is littered with writers far more equipped to dig deep into the on field ramifications of all the players, I decided to go in another direction. Recently the CFLPA partnered up with Memmo, a company that allows you to get personalized video messages sent directly to you from your favourite “celebrities.” I put celebrity in quotation because Carol Baskin is featured on the site.

So instead of Xs and Os analysis, I have written possible shoutouts by the recently signed free agents to their new fan bases.

Micah Johnson

“Hello Rider Nation … I’m back! Let’s just pretend that whole signing with the BC Lions last year didn’t happen. I mean, considering that COVID-19 wiped out all of last year was I really, technically a BC Lion? This is kind of a football version of that “if a tree falls in the forest” parable. Ask yourself if a star defensive tackle signs with a different team and never gets a chance to drill a quarterback, did it really happen? The important thing is let’s just pretend I never left and watch as myself and Larry Dean help you all forget about the loss of Charleston Hughes. So as you’re putting on your game worn Ray Elgaard jersey focus on what I did in 2019, what I’m going to do in 2021 and let’s just do what the rest of Earth is doing, forgetting that 2020 ever happened.”

Odell Willis

Odell Willis spent two seasons in BC and now joins the Toronto Argonauts (Shannon Vizniowski/CFL.ca)

“Hello John Tory, I have some bad news and no, it has nothing to do with your inability to deal with the awful traffic issues in your town. Not sure if you’ve heard but the city of Toronto has a new Mayor. I have plenty of experience in politics, I’m sure you heard I used to be the Mayor of “Swaggerville” back in my Winnipeg days. I’m a Grey Cup champ, I’ve led the league in sacks and I’m taking you out. Your transit system is a mess and your football team was dead last in offensive points allowed. I’m here to fix at least one of those problems, which is one more than you can do. If it makes you feel any better, Mr. Tory, I thought you did a great job as the commission of the CFL and I would love to have you on my staff.”

Michael O’Connor

“Hello Calgary I know, I know you’re torn about how you should feel about me. I totally get it. On one hand the last thing you want to see is me throwing passes to Josh Huff. That would mean Bo Levi Mitchell is hurt again which is not what anyone wants to see happen. On the other hand I am Canadian and we’ve been all waiting for that next star Canadian quarterback since Russ Jackson to cheer for. I know we all thought it was going to Brandon Bridge but that just never happened. How about we all compromise and root for me to be a better version of Andrew Buckley, who can keep the ship running if Bo has to miss the odd game here and there. 2019 proved you need two capable passers on your roster.”

Shaq Cooper

“The training wheels are about to come off!!! Remember last year when I gained over a 100 total yards and a touchdown against you in 2019? Expect that on a regular basis now that I’m no longer C.J. Gable’s understudy. My job is to make you forget about John White and make life easier for Mike Reilly. Unlike so many other free agent running backs, I’m 27 and I haven’t taken anywhere near the same punishment as so many of the older running backs floating out there. Also speaking of aging running backs, I’m extra motivated to dominate just so that my family can stop talking about my cousin Frank Gore at Christmas. If I have any of his genetics I’m going to be here a long time. Seriously, how is he still getting it done at 37 years old? Between myself, Lucky Whitehead and Chris Rainey, I promise you’ll be seeing a ton of speed all over the field in 2021.”

Matt Nichols

“Trust me Ottawa, I’m angrier at the city of Toronto that you ever will be. I’m not going to get into the financial details that led to my departure and rest assured I’m thrilled to be in this town with this coaching staff but trust me when I say I have more rage for that city than even the most diehard Senators fan still holding a grudge against Darcy Tucker. I’m sorry that Ettore Lattanzio retired but my mission here is prove Winnipeg and Toronto wrong and to give you the sort of quarterback stability you haven’t seen since Henry Burris.”

Charleston Hughes

The Argos made waves signing defensive end Charleston Hughes (Riderville.com)

“To all Argonaut fans bummed out about celebrating their birthday and feeling a year older, I’m living proof that age is just a number. I beat out Ja’Gared Davis for the sack title in 2019 and that dude is seven years younger than me. I whipped up on offensive linemen born in the 1990s as I finished the year with 16 quarterback takedowns. So if you’re having some sort of midlife crisis on your 40th birthday, don’t buy the expensive European sports car, you have plenty of years left. Here are two guarantees: I plan on hitting double digit sacks when I’m 40 as well and Toronto will not be at the bottom in so many defensive categories this season.”

Almondo Sewell

“Hey Montreal, the Argonauts aren’t the only team going after every free agent. I’m not here to replace John Bowman, no one can do that, but I promise that along with myself and the return of Patrick Levels and Chris Ackie, we will not finish last in yards allowed per play like we did the last time games were allowed to happen. To all the bars and restaurants here in the beautiful city of Montreal, I want you to know I will be supporting you once it is safe to do so. I spent nine years living and working in Edmonton so I have a lot of catching up to do. Could someone please direct me to “Rue SainteCatherine”?

And because I can’t help myself …

Michael “Pinball” Clemons

“Hey John Bowman, this is Pinball. As you may have heard the Toronto Argonauts are making quite a splash in Free Agency. We’re shopping like’s it’s Boxing Day and Black Friday all wrapped into one. I heard you and Montreal have parted ways. Let me say you are a first ballot Hall of Famer but there is only one thing missing from your resume, you’ve never sacked an Alouettes quarterback. So why not come on down the 401 and join the Double Blue? The good thing is that with Charleston Hughes and Odell Willis both on the roster you won’t feel so old. I’m sure someone on this team will refer to you as “kid.” Also I guarantee no football executive will hug you as often with as much gusto as I do.”

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