Although not getting much done right before the free agent resigning deadline, the Saskatchewan Roughriders took a few of their players who went to free agency right back. All-Star linebacker Tad Kornegay, non import offensive lineman Marc Parenteau and long snapper Jocelyn Frenette have all signed contracts to remain with the Riders. With those three locked down for sure, there have also been rumours that the Riders have agreed to terms with Canadian full back Chris Szarka.
Out of all of these signings, Tad Kornegay is clearly the most important. Kornegay was a Western division all star last season at the outside linebacker position. Tad was second on the team in tackles with 74, which is 15 ahead of third place. He was also tied for second in the league and first on the team in forced fumbles with 4, third on the team with 3 interceptions and added 10 special teams tackles.
What makes Kornegay so good isn't just his tackling and ability to force turnovers but his versatility. He is one of those players that wherever you put him, he will produce. While best at linebacker, Kornegay played at halfback and corner back as well last season.
The two biggest questions for the Riders as of right now are at defensive end and at running back. With Wes Cates still not resigned, if the Riders do not look outside for a running back the starter job will be a battle between newly resigned Stu Foord and Hugh Charles. Charles would be the likely starter, since he was when Cates was injured last season. Either are viable options, but questions have been raised as of whether they can be full time starters due to their small statures. Jamaal Robertson and Dominick Dorsey are possible candidates as well since they have yet to be signed by another team.
With the loss of Chick and Baggs, the Roughriders' defensive line looks like it may be hurting. The only starter returning this season is Keith Shologan who is, on the bright side, a good up and coming player. It has been rumored that the Riders are interested in former Argo and All-Star Jonathan Brown. Brown would be a fantastic pick up if he can stay healthy. He would be able to be a big body on the opposite side of Kitwana Jones to provide a solid pass rush.
It seems as though just a few weeks ago the Riders hopes at a Grey Cup in 2010 would be unlikely, but with the defense looking like its coming along, and the obvious high powered offense, the Grey Cup could be returning to Regina in this coming season. I think Tad Kornegay said it best in one of his latest Twitter posts:
Sorry Rider Nation unfortunately you have to put up with me for another season! Let's finish what we've started!!!!
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