The view, Kyle Walters admits, is completely spectacular.
However the Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM is in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec this week for Canadian Soccer League conferences, to not slap on some Rossignols and carve his approach down the slopes.
“We have been in Banff final yr for these conferences,” started the Bombers boss, “however it was extra touristy. That is for straight, hard-core skiers. You’re coming right here to ski. There’s a bit of city with some good eating places, however everyone seems to be strolling round right here with their skis on. I’m not a skier, however I’ve discovered a spot that may serve me a beer, so it’s good.”
That little snapshot apart, let’s get proper at it with a number of the highlights of a 20-minute dialog with bluebombers.com that gives an replace on a number of the subjects involving the Bombers and the CFL.
bluebombers.com: Let’s start with a easy one: what’s this week appear to be for you?
WALTERS: We’re doing media periods with the coaches and GMs, then assembly to go over some issues. After which we’ve got conferences all day (Wednesday) with the presidents and league officers in there. It’s about getting everyone on the identical web page almost about the CBA (collective bargaining settlement).
bluebombers.com: And you then’re off to Mexico this weekend to scout a few of the expertise from the Liga de Futbol Americano…
WALTERS: Right. Mike (head coach O’Shea) and I depart Friday for that mix.
bluebombers.com: There’s a lot in your plate proper now… what’s atop your to-do record?
WALTERS: The CFL Draft is an enormous one for me. That and getting free brokers signed. That’s the large one proper now. Ted (Goveia), Danny (McManus) and Ryan (Rigmaiden) are at this new league (Alliance of American Soccer) watching camps, the all-star video games and issues like that to take loads of the work from that finish of issues.
bluebombers.com: Day by day I’ve anyone asking concerning the standing of contract negotiations with Adam Bighill. I’m positive you get that occasions a zillion. What’s the newest?
WALTERS: Everyone has been asking that. Let me say we’ve had discussions together with his agent and that’s a constructive. Sure brokers don’t need to speak till free company, sure brokers are ready till the CBA is ratified or there’s some readability. Adam’s agent, Dan Vertlieb, we’ve had a couple of guys on our staff that he represents and we’ve had some good discussions. He and I are prepared to a minimum of talk about numbers. However he’s obtained loads of shoppers and he’s a really busy man.
So, issues are going sluggish, however the constructive from my finish is we’re speaking.
bluebombers.com: You talked about this in your media availability on the finish of the season that Adam actually loved his yr in Winnipeg. Are you getting the sense that’s serving to in negotiations?
WALTERS: I attempt to mood these sort of feedback. Sure, we’ve got a terrific group. We’ve obtained an amazing locker room and it’s a good place to play. That’s all very correct. However brokers aren’t within the locker room. An agent’s job is to get probably the most sum of money for his participant.
Unquestionably the best way our staff is, the best way or group is, and the best way Mike treats gamers could be very useful to us. However, on the finish of the day, cash talks.
bluebombers.com: In that case, clearly a part of your job is to have a Plan B. Do you could have different choices rolling round in your head in case Adam doesn’t re-sign?
WALTERS: Sure. You take a look at your 2019 roster and the salaries and it’s ‘We need to do that, but when we will’t signal him, what’s Plan B? What can we do right here, what can we do there?’ These are the varieties of conversations we have now on a regular basis. We’re all the time choosing one another’s brains. Each day our brains are working by means of these situations.
bluebombers.com: There are a selection of different pending free brokers. What’s the general standing on these negotiations?
WALTERS: We’re chipping away. A number of the younger American guys are going to attend to exhaust any NFL alternatives, which is regular yearly. That gained’t be sorted out till February 1st. You’re seeing that proper now with guys signing NFL offers, but when that hasn’t come round for a participant by the primary of February then they’re in all probability not going to get a chance. So, we’ll take a deep breath on a few of these guys till the primary of February.
bluebombers.com: Defensive finish Jackson Jeffcoat had a exercise with the Cincinnati Bengals. Are there another Bombers who’ve had seems to be from NFL groups?
WALTERS: There have been some requests for Jovan (Santos-Knox), however together with his foot damage, which goes to take a while to heal up, it’s only a matter of how a lot time NFL groups will give him earlier than they get him to work out. There was curiosity in Jovan, so we’ll simply patiently wait.
bluebombers.com: You talked about the CBA and getting on top of things from the league this week with the place issues stand. How is all that uncertainty impacting what you’re making an attempt to do in the correct right here and proper now in your work to signal guys?
WALTERS: It’s good for the coaches and GMs to listen to (CFL commissioner) Randy (Ambrosie) and the membership presidents speak. It’ll principally simply be listening for us to get educated on the whole lot at this level. From my standpoint, it hasn’t been an enormous deal as of proper now. We’ve been working as regular and if one thing modifications you regulate on the fly. However there’s no use sitting round worrying what the cap goes to be or what the ratio goes to be or what’s this or what’s that.
You cope with the playing cards you’re given and that’s what we’re doing proper now.
bluebombers.com: If you signal a man like Justin Medlock this week to an extension, how does it work with a possible signing bonus, given the CBA standing?
WALTERS: Justin’s signing bonus can be paid with the ratification of the CBA. We spent loads of time in December reaching out to brokers and the (CFLPA) participant reps do an excellent job… the gamers and brokers are nicely knowledgeable with what’s happening. We’re not rope-a-doping guys. They know full nicely that anyone with a signing bonus will receives a commission as soon as the CBA is ratified.
bluebombers.com: What impression are you feeling from the AAF and in addition understanding that the XFL and Freedom Soccer League are on the horizon, too?
WALTERS: It is going to ultimately influence our potential to signal younger guys. For our free brokers proper now, that league could have minimal influence due to the timing. It is going to be once we start reaching out to our neg record guys. And listening to from the (AAF) camps there are already two or three guys from our neg record which are wanting actually good, which can in all probability restrict our potential to convey them up right here.
bluebombers.com: I do know I’m stating the apparent right here, however with two picks within the first spherical of this yr’s CFL Draft, you need to already be properly into prospect evaluations?
WALTERS: No query. We’re properly into it. Ted and I spend loads of time in the course of the college season going out to video games, speaking to coaches. After the season we speak to coaches and get stories. We’ve in all probability obtained 120 youngsters in our system proper now being evaluated. I deal with a lot of the movie work and share it with Mike and Ted after which the three of us will meet in early March to debate the blokes earlier than we get out to the combines to see them in individual. It’s a whole lot of work.
bluebombers.com: We noticed a state of affairs final season with Bighill turning into obtainable simply earlier than coaching camp after which different gamers, like Chris Matthews, showing later within the yr. With all of the CFL gamers heading to the NFL now, would you contemplate giving your self some cap room to signal these forms of gamers ought to they turn out to be obtainable nearer to, or through the season?
WALTERS: I do know precisely what you’re saying and it makes good sense. Nevertheless it’s arduous to start out the yr saying, ‘We’re not going to have one of the best roster out there Week 1 simply in case guys may come again.’ That would definitely be a philosophy however…
bluebombers.com: Does the considering change if it was one in every of your gamers who signed down south, like a Jackson Jeffcoat?
WALTERS: If a man like Jeffcoat leaves I feel you need to go into free company making an attempt to switch him with a very good soccer participant, not saying ‘All proper, we’re not going to spend that cash. We’re going to attend and see if he comes again.’ When gamers began coming again (from the NFL) later final yr I feel, truthfully, they have been signed for probably the most half by the groups that had catastrophic damage conditions and with all their gamers on the six-game injured listing it freed up cap area. That’s one thing you actually can’t management.
bluebombers.com: Does your strategy to free company this yr change as a result of the expertise pool obtainable is so giant? By that, I imply would you attempt to fill extra of your roster with a few of the confirmed commodities obtainable?
WALTERS: It’s tempting, I suppose. However confirmed veteran expertise merely prices greater than younger expertise and it’s all received to suit into your wage cap. It’s nonetheless about making the perfect decisions in your roster and spending the place you assume you want it.
bluebombers.com: That’s no totally different than some other yr, then.
WALTERS: No totally different. However it could be that one of many free brokers you need to go after in free company tells you he’s not signing till the CBA state of affairs turns into clearer. So then the choice is do you wait till he is able to signal or transfer on to plan 1A or 1B. These are the choices you will should make as soon as we will speak to free brokers.
bluebombers.com: There’s this concept that the uncertainty with the CBA means the opening of the free agent market in February will now be a non-event. Countering that, should you can lock some guys up now as you’re doing, that provides you with much more readability for when the market opens. What’s your tackle that notion?
WALTERS: You’re seeing a few of that now. The thought that no one goes to signal due to the uncertainty is proving to be false. Gamers wish to have secured contracts. In the event that they like a sure place and know (the CBA) goes to get sorted out… I feel come free company you will see some guys signal fairly than wait. I simply assume that in most years the place free company is usually over inside 48 hours this yr it might linger on and on with some gamers into Might.
bluebombers.com: Extra on the CFL’s new affiliation with the Mexican league… if you and Mike head down there this weekend, are you taking a look at specific place teams, or is it the basic ‘best-player-available’ strategy?
WALTERS: It’s a mixture of each. None of this has actually been sorted out but, so I feel we’re simply going to go down there and consider some soccer gamers, easy as that. As soon as we get down there it should contain making an attempt to determine the place we see these gamers becoming in with the workforce. So, Mike and I’ll go down there, take our notes, and decide the place every participant may slot in and if they will be on our roster what’s the greatest probability for them to assist us win soccer video games. Then I factor you draft accordingly based mostly on these discussions.
bluebombers.com: Have you learnt but if there’s going to be a separate designation for these gamers? Will they be thought-about nationals or internationals or will there be a 3rd designation within the ratio?
WALTERS: That’s all to be sorted out. In order of proper now, we’re taking place there considering of this no totally different as a free agent mix within the States and even an analysis camp right here in Canada. You’re going to take a look at a pool of soccer gamers, see who you want and rank them after which go from there. No matter occurs subsequent, we’ll work with that.
bluebombers.com: That is all a part of the commissioner’s CFL 2.zero blueprint. It’s attainable you may be doing this in Europe, perhaps in a spot like Germany, sooner or later isn’t it?
WALTERS: It’s thrilling. It’s good for soccer. It’s good for international soccer. It’s good for our recreation. Randy has this imaginative and prescient and this is step one in it and it’s thrilling for our league.
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