The Saskatchewan Roughriders threw in the towel on the 2015 season on Wednesday as they dealt away two of their top offensive performers in a pair of deadline deals.
With the team eliminated from post-season contention and needing to start rebuilding, Jeremy O'Day decided to pull the trigger on two deals that saw veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn sent to Montreal and Canadian running back Jerome Messam traded to division rival Calgary.
“We're starting to look towards the future, trying to make the best decision that we can for the organization and the team moving forward,” said O'Day, the Riders' interim general manager.
“In order to get draft picks and to make trades, you have to trade away good players and that was the decision that we had to make.”
The Riders took into account the fact that both Glenn and Messam were going to be free agents after this season and are both in their 30s as the team looks to start rebuilding their team following their disastrous season.
O'Day didn't see a way that both players fit into their future plans.
“We very much had to keep our future in our thought process when looking at it and try not to get caught up where we are currently,” said O'Day.
Glenn was sent to Montreal in a sign-and-trade scenario with the Alouettes re-signing him for the 2016 season. In return, the Riders received a 2016 fifth round pick, which was then flipped to Calgary in the Messam deal.
“Everyone has been talking about his value and how other teams would be calling, but most of the other teams are in pretty good shape quarterback-wise,” said O'Day. “It was an opportunity for us to get a draft pick for a guy that we didn't see in our future.”
The Riders would receive a 2016 third round pick, along with national kicker Tyler Crapigna and the rights to a negotiation list player from Calgary in exchange for Messam.
O'Day is happy with the return that they were able to get back in the two deals.
“You always want to get more whenever you do a trade, but at the end of the day, you have to be realistic,” he said. “Overall, we did a good job, we were able to put ourselves in a better position for the draft and we're able to evaluate some younger players for the future as well.”
Crapigna comes to Saskatchewan as the CIS all-time leader in field goals made. He's spent this past season on the Stampeders backing up veteran Rene Paredes.
“He's a young, good Canadian kicker that we'd like to evaluate,” said O'Day. “He's had success in the preseason with Calgary, Calgary has also kept him around for the season, so he has a value.
“At the end of the day, that's a position that we want to build for the future and evaluate some young guys.”
The Riders will head into their final three regular season games with Brett Smith as the starting quarterback and Keith Price will serve as back-up.
Saskatchewan returns to the field next Saturday against the Edmonton Eskimos.