Walters on FAs Schoen, Oliveira: 'Is this going to get done, or is it not?'
Winnipeg Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters spoke at the Canadian Football League's winter meetings in Nashville Tuesday, providing an update on where things stand with the team's top free agents Dalton Schoen and Brady Oliveira.
Walters: “We’ll be getting to that point in the next few weeks, where if there’s nothing done with the high-end guys … you don’t want to be left out in the cold, putting all your eggs into a certain basket and if it doesn’t come through, you’ll be left in a bad spot.” #Bombers— Ted Wyman (@Ted_Wyman) January 9, 2024
"It’s getting to the point now where it’s: ‘Is this going to get done, or is it not?’ Because if it’s not, we really need to pivot and allocate funds elsewhere,” Walters said Tuesday.
“We’ll be getting to that point in the next few weeks, where if there’s nothing done with the high-end guys … you don’t want to be left out in the cold, putting all your eggs into a certain basket and if it doesn’t come through, you’ll be left in a bad spot.”
Schoen is coming off his second consecutive 1,000-yard season and led the Bombers with 71 receptions for 1,222 yards and 10 touchdowns a year after being named Most Outstanding Rookie.
The Overland Park, Kan., native was hampered by injuries in the Bombers' road to the Grey Cup, sitting Week 18 through the West Final against the BC Lions but appearing in the Grey Cup against the Montreal Alouettes.
Oliveira flourished in his second full season as the Blue Bombers’ No. 1 back, joining Jon Cornish as just the second Canadian to rush for over 1,500 yards in a single season. He was named the league's Most Outstanding Canadian and earned a nomination for the Most Outstanding Player for his 2,014 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns.
Oliveira took the reins for the Blue Bombers' backfield after the departure of fellow Winnipeg native Andrew Harris, who joined the Argonauts in 2022 after a decorated career with the Bombers.
The University of North Dakota product rushed for 429 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his rookie campaign, helping the Blue Bombers capture the 108th Grey Cup over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Oliveira eclipsed his season stats a year later in 2022, taking 202 touches for 1,001 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bombers have been able to retain some talent this off-season as they inked all-star guard Pat Neufeld to a one-year contract extension on Dec. 18.
Neufeld started 17 regular-season games last season and was named a league all-star for the third time in his career.
CFL free agency is set to open on Feb. 13 at noon ET/9 a.m. PT.