Thursday, January 29, 2015

Luke Tasker Officially Resigned By the Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Canadian Press is reporting that import receiver Luke Tasker is now officially resigned by the Ticats for three years. One wonders how much it cost the Cats, although Hamilton likely gets a bit of a discount for being located so close to Tasker's hometown in Western New York (I would say Buffalo but I'm not sure if he grew up in one of those bizarrely named little towns around Buffalo).

Naming Rights for Quebec City's New Arena

Tigercatatonia is always interested in the economics of pro sport in the CFL and Canada as a whole. Especially interesting is naming rights. Towards the end of this article about the chances of Quebec City landing a NHL team for their brand new arena (tl;dr not good) is some info about the naming rights for the new arena:

"The arena was built with $200-million from the provincial government, $187-million from the city and $13-million raised from people in the community forking out to reserve a seat. Quebecor is on the hook for $33-million for 25-year naming rights to the arena. That increases to $63.5 million if an NHL team is acquired."

That's $1.32 million per year without an NHL team and $2.54 million with an NHL team. The naming rights for Tim Horton's Field for the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton is rumoured to be between $1 and $1.5 million, however the Cats are broadcast across Canada on TSN while without an NHL team they're stuck with a QMJHL team.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ricky Foley Back in Toronto After Trade With Roughriders For Emry

Not totally shocked to see defensive end and non-import Ricky Foley back in Toronto after a trade with the Riders that saw non-import linebacker Shea Emry go the other way. Foley went to York University (not exactly a powerhouse in the CIS) and is from Courtice, east of Toronto so returning back home is often appealing for CFL players.

Foley has a nose for the Grey Cup, winning with Toronto in 2012 and Saskatchewan in 2013. Foley, although not young had arguably his best season in 2014, with 12 sacks and 54 tackles. I believe that was the most sacks in the CFL for a non-import.

Musings on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Free Agents Lists

Thoughts on the Hamilton Tiger- Cats free agents (*denotes non-import)

Brandon Banks WR/KR
If Banks can't wangle another NFL tryout, Banks is the current best returner
in the league. However I don't think the dropoff the Cats would have in the
return game if the Cats didn't sign him would be as big as people think. Does have additional value as a receiver however, especially in six receiver sets.

Marcellus Bowman LB
I like his big hitting especially on special teams, but he seems to be injured a lot. The problem with import linebackers in the CFL if you are one, is that there's a vast number being produced every year in the US college system.

Delvin Breaux DB
Just signed with New Orleans.

Antonio Coleman DE
Depends on what happens with Justin Hickman.

Marc Dile OL
The Cats started three American offensive linemen consistently last year. Likely with Dyakowski returning to the guard position, the Cats will only
start two. That makes resigning Dile less of a priority. Plus American offensive linemen are a dime a dozen.

Greg Ellingson WR
If Tasker signs with some other team, expect the Ticats to make more effort with
Ellingson. Has had some excellent games with the Ticats in 2013, but 2014
wasn't impressive. If Tasker signs, the Ticats might not have the money another
team could offer.

*Marc- Antoine Fortin DL
The Cats have a lot of non-import defensive line talent. Almost too much. Not really a priority.

*Samuel Giguere WR
Giguere is valuable as a non-import receiver as a secondary target in a good receiving corps. Other teams might offer him more money than the Cats might.
The Cats have Coates as another non-import receiver behind Andy Fantuz, however
I can't think next year that Coates would have a better season that Giguere would.

Bakari Grant WR
Grant didn't have fantastic numbers last year, although his downfield blocking
is excellent. Grant does have a knack for making needed first down catches.

Nic Grigsby RB
This is one of the more interesting questions for the Cats. Obviously he played well down the stretch and importantly for the Ticat offense, he can catch the ball. Can the Cats afford both him and CJ Gable at the same time? Gable was injured a lot last year. Perhaps the Cats release him and stick with Grigsby.

Justin Hickman DE
Will Hickman get another NFL shot? Hickman wasn't particularly dominant in his
return last year, although combined with Eric Norwood at the other DE spot, that's a good tandem.

Dan LeFevour QB
I like the concept of LeFevour and if he's healthy, he's a great backup for
Collaros and can come in on sneaks and potentially even other plays. I'm not sure of the interest other teams have in LeFevour.

Stephen McGee QB
I have no idea what the Cats have in McGee. He seems to have moved past Masoli on the depth chart, but with the recent signing of Cornell product Jeff Mathews, perhaps resigning McGee isn't as important.

*Tim O'Neill OL
Already resigned. Older obviously, but talented.

Taylor Reed LB
Had a lot of sacks last year in relatively few games for the Ticats last year from the linebacker position. The Cats should try and resign him. Better than the usual fungible import CFL linebacker.
I would ignore the Grey Cup stuff.

Luke Tasker WR
Rumours of having already resigned, obviously his chemistry with Collaros is excellent and makes signing other receivers less important.

*Greg Wojt OL
Seemed to be injured a lot this year. With Peter Dyakoski returning and hopefully one of the Ticats younger offensive linemen emerging, Wojt doesn't seem to be a priority.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ticats Sign Another Cornell Product, Jeff Mathews

Just saw on the @espnithaca Twitter feed (there's an @espntwitter feed) that the Ticats have signed Jeff Mathews, who apparently graduated from Cornell in 2014 and played with Ticats head coach Kent Austin there. That's all I know, although the tweet did mention he had two NFL practice stints. I'm too busy to look up his stats at Cornell, so I leave that as an exercise to the reader. Agent Tracker; Also No Confirmation of the Ticats Signing Luke Tasker

The CFL has a great free agent tracker site up at Right now the only Ticat agent that has been resigned is non-import offensive lineman Tim O'Neil out of seventeen total. Luke Tasker is still listed as unsigned.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Picture of Tim Horton'sd Field at Night January 2015

Here's a photo I took of the still unfinished Tim Horton's Field with the lights on last night. Hopefully it will be ready for the Ticats preseason game in June.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hamilton Ticats Resign Wide Receiver Luke Tasker?

The Scratching Post is reporting that the Ticats have resigned import wide receiver Luke Tasker. No official announcement yet, but if it is true that's great news for 2015.

Tasker was the leading receiver in terms of yardage in 2014 for the Tiger-Cats. Having him and Andy Fantuz is a pretty good receiving tandem. The question then becomes who will the other main receivers be in 2015? Bakari Grant? Greg Ellingson? Sam Giguere? Brandon Banks?

Having Tasker signed means that the Ticats have more flexibility in terms of who they need to sign to round out the receiving corps and losing one or two of the other four isn't that big a deal. The Cats over the years have shown good ability at finding import receivers, so there isn't a lot of reasons to be concerned.

One question is how much Tasker signed for. If it is for a lot, that could cause a lot of problems for other problems in terms of the salary cap. The Cats may then want to not resign some of the other receivers and just go with cheap first year imports.

Also I'm glad as a Ticat fan that Tasker signed now rather than attending a NFL camp and only coming back later to the team. Tasker's size likely hurt him in trying to catch on with an NFL team. The CFL's much larger field also is more suited to Tasker.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tim Horton's Field Not Ready Yet

Somewhat incredibly the Ticats' new stadium still isn't ready yet. From this Spec article:

"The city hopes the Pan Am stadium will be finished in February – or at least by April.

The city is still waiting to take possession of the $145-million stadium that was supposed to be finished last July. Infrastructure Ontario most recently estimated the building would handed over by the end of January. "

Considering the stadium was supposed to be open at the end of June last year, that's remarkable. The first pre-season game is likely far enough away to not be affected fortunately. I should swing by the stadium and take a few shots to see the current state.

 I'll be curious to see in the future if there is any complaints about shoddy construction. I'm guessing this stadium doesn't last as long as Ivor Wynne.