The off-season is underway and every team faces questions. Today, I look at three questions concerning the Edmonton Eskimos.
1. Who will the next general manager be?
The biggest question facing the Eskimos is who to hire to replace Eric Tillman as the team's general manager. There are reported to be 13 candidates who have applied for the job, but only two are internal candidates, former player and current scout Ed Hervey and head coach Kavis Reed. We've heard a lot about the "Eskimo Way" since Tillman was ousted a month ago, so that tells me that Reed and Hervey are the two front runners. I don't see Reed getting the job because I don't think hes ready to leave the sideline just yet. So if I had to make a guess, and that is all this is, I'll think Hervey gets the job.
2. What will they do at quarterback?
The first order of business for the new GM will be to fix the mess that is Edmonton's quarterbacking situation. They started the 2012 season with Steven Jyles, but he proved as useful as a one-eyed wombat (and this is coming from someone who once had very high hopes for Jyles); then they went to 38-year-old Kerry Joseph, who had flashes, but showed every bit of age down the stretch; and then there was the very promising outings from Matt Nichols, but he suffered a gruesome injury in the playoff loss to the Argos and it is questionable whether he'll ever be able to return. The team also has former Oregon standout Jeremiah Masoli, but he saw no action in 2012. There are some free agent quarterbacks out there, such as Mike Reilly and Adrian McPherson, so Edmonton has options. I'd be surprised if Jyles and Joseph are still with Edmonton next year and with Nichols out for who knows how long, I expect them to go hard after one of the free agent quarterbacks. I think they hope to lure McPherson west and will do everything they can to get him in Green and Gold next year.
3. Will they be able to sign all their free agents?
One of the revelations following the Tillman firing was how many potential free agents the Eskimos have to try to re-sign before February. These aren't run-of-the-mill players either, we're talking guys like Marcus Howard, Chris Thompson, and reigning defensive player of the year JC Sherritt. The main reason given for trading Ricky Ray was to shed salary, so now the Eskimos will need to pony up some dough to ensure they don't sink even further in 2013.