Although the latest trade could be the first of many moves before the current season ends, Brendan Taman insists that this does not mean the Blue Bombers are rebuilding all over again.
"We're just trying to put 40 guys on the field to beat B.C.," Taman said yesterday, referring to next week's CFL game against the Lions.
Although Taman completed a relatively minor trade with Montreal, it could have all sorts of implications. Winnipeg sent the rights to veteran import defensive back Ricky Bell to the Alouettes for Canadian linebacker/safety Ryan Folk. Bell, you may recall, was a training-camp holdout who retired when the Bombers refused his demands.
Folk, who was cut during Winnipeg's 2004 training camp, adds depth at two positions. And it could mean that Taman is concerned about re-signing safety Wes Lysack who is currently in his option year. It may also mean the Bombers will experiment with starting a Canadian linebacker, likely Neil McKinley, with an experienced CFLer there to back him up. If so, that could mean middle linebacker Ryland Wickman could be on the trading block -- Ottawa has shown interest in him before -- and the future just got cloudier for Canadian rookie linebacker Scott Mennie. Then again, McKinley is also be capable of playing outside linebacker, which would put others in jeopardy.
Whether Folk plays safety or linebacker here will be decided within the next few days.
"Ryan Folk's a really good special teams player and when he got cut last year, we thought he was going back to school," said Taman, who had drafted him. "Then, Montreal picked him up but he's always been a guy that we wanted to keep an eye on."
Folk is coming from a perennial playoff contender to a team that has been virtually eliminated from post-season action.
"You play all year to go to the playoffs and then you don't make the playoffs, well, it happens," Folk said from Calgary. "But it'll be good next year for me. It's good to go somewhere where they want you."
The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Medicine Hat, Alta., native also had a number of friends and family planning to watch him play against the Stampeders tonight.
"I don't think there's that many going now," said Folk, 26.
This is just another of more moves.
"I've got a few irons in the fire," Taman said coyly. "When we go to practice on Tuesday, there will be two or three new players -- at least."
Taman is also willing to deal import offensive lineman Orlando Bobo, another holdout who retired after failing to come to terms.
Taman has some interest in import OL Dave Hack, just released by Hamilton, since import OL John Feugill may be finished for the season.
Taman is also still trying to lure QB Craig Ochs, a recent NFL cut, to Winnipeg for the last four games.