Saturday 18 February 2012

Hamilton's Active Day

It took longer than I expected, but at around 10AM this morning the news broke via an e-mail to season ticket holders sent by Bob Young:

Andy Fantuz is coming home.

The Cats signed the 2010 Most Outstanding Canadian to a four-year contract (three years, plus a club option) for a reported $180,000 with $10,000 in incentives per year.

There is no way to spin this other than in a positive direction. Fantuz is the premier Canadian Receiver, and his addition to the lineup gives the team arguably the best group of Receivers in the CFL. As things look now, Fantuz will take the field with 2011 Most Outstanding Rookie Chris Williams, the recently re-signed Bakari Grant and Terence Jeffers-Harris and fellow Canadian Dave Stala. That is as fearsome a fivesome as any in the league, and that group doesn't include Aaron Kelly and a player I think could do big things, Jeremy Kelley. That Cats, to put it bluntly, are loaded at Receiver.

But following all the Fantuz hoopla, the Ti-Cats made two other import signings, and appear on the verge of making a third. Hamilton picked up former Stampeder Offensive Lineman Tim O'Neill and ex-Eskimo Defensive Lineman Greg Peach, and look to have secured former Argo Linebacker Kevin Eiben.

O'Neill will likely replace the departed Simeon Rottier at Guard. O'Neill is older than Rottier, but he can be a decent fill-in for the departed former No. 1 overall pick. Peach will plug the hole left by Justin Hickman, who signed with Indianapolis. Peach has tremendous talent, and was actually one of free agents I thought the team should target. He can be a force on the outside or inside, and helps fill a void while also upgrading one of the weak spots on Hamilton's roster. Eiben is no longer a starter, but he is a valuable depth guy, and can be an excellent Special Teams player. The Cats are a better team today than they were yesterday.

But today is all about Fantuz. He was the prize of free agency and the Ti-Cats went out and got him. Much like the hiring of George Cortez, the Cats set their sites on someone and did what they needed to do to acquire them. The upcoming season is shaping up to be an exciting one in Tigertown.

(Note: The league released the 2012 schedule on Friday. I will have my take on that sometime late Saturday morning or early afternoon.)

1 comment:

  1. This team is going to be such an unknown before the season... HUGE change. Offensively, on paper, there is so much firepower it's hard to see how 2012 will be anything but high scoring and very entertaining.

    (note that O'Neill is a non-import)