Winnipeg – In a wide ranging twenty-five minute season ending session with the media, Winnipeg Blue Bomber GM Kyle Walters said getting head coach Mike O’Shea and quarterback Matt Nichols signed to new contracts was at the top of his off-season to-do list.
Walters bluntly stated his position on Oshea “I want Mike O’Shea back as our head coach next year, yes.” And when asked if Nichols tops the list of players he would like to re-sign, Walters said “yes.”
Regarding negotiations with those two, Walters said they would likely be quite different. “I expect the talks with Mike to go smoothly, Mike and I respect each other, we are friends and we will sit down and work to make it happen. Matt Nichols has an agent(O’Shea doesn’t) and those never go as smooth. Look, I want Matt Nichols as our quarterback next year but players have agents to handle these types of things. I have dealt with Matt’s agent in the past, he will dig his heels in and we will be back and forth. We get along very well, it will be a process like all the other negotiations, but we want Matt Nichols back as our quarterback and we will work towards getting that done up to February 9th before free agency. Certainly would be nice to get it done before then but you never know how these things work out.”
Walters displayed a sense of humor when asked if he would like to also bring veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn back next year. “We will explore that possibility. Other than not having a quarterback or a head coach under contract for 2017 we are in good shape(laughter.)” Glenn has expressed an interest in returning to Winnipeg. Whether the other two 2016 Bomber quarterbacks, Dominique Davis and Bryan Bennett, return is questionable.
Walters said the Bombers expect to be under the CFL salary cap this year. But just barely. Walters said he renegotiated the contracts of kicker Justin Medlock and offensive lineman Stanley Bryant in an effort to try and stay under the cap.
In closing, Walters said progress was made in 2016. “We won our fair share of close games this year. Obviously disappointing to lost that semi-final game in B.C. but all in all progress for us. It’s good for players in that room to have some success, for Mike to have some success and certainly you would like to think we are building. Now we need to take the next step, improve on things next year, host a playoff game, win a playoff game, get to the Grey Cup and win the Grey Cup.”