May 6, 2016

BLOG: The Inner Workings Of A Trade

Kyle Walters doesn’t stop. 

Like with most GM’s, talks are constant. Some legitimate, some more on the side of banter. But make no mistake, Kyle Walters isn’t scared to make trades. Since he took over in August of 2013, he has manufactured 15 trades, including landing starters like Chris Randle, Matt Bucknor, Pat Neufeld, and most notably, franchise quarterback Drew Willy.

The initial conversation around acquiring a veteran quarterback began as soon we were told Drew was going to be out for a significant amount of time. The talks were preliminary, some incoming calls and some outgoing, to every team with a viable trade option. As Kyle told me the morning of the trade, “It’s a lot of, ‘would you do this, would you do that’, type of talk. You quickly see what is a serious option, and what isn’t.” Although I am not at liberty to mention specific names, I can tell you we inquired on many different options, and some responses just weren’t going to work with our situation.

“Sure, we’ll make that trade, but we want Drew Willy,” was one reply from a league General Manager. Obviously, that wasn’t a viable or reasonable option for us.

Kyle and Eskimos GM Ed Hervey first discussed Matt Nichols a few weeks ago. Kyle mentioned this shortly afterwards, but at that point it was still just early talks. Names were thrown around, but nothing significant. The conversation kind of dropped off, and that was that. Following last week’s game against Calgary, we had decided to revisit the opportunity to acquire a veteran quarterback, for a variety of reasons. Tuesday afternoon Kyle, Mike O’Shea and I met for lunch, where Kyle informed us that a deal was quite possibly going to take place involving Matt Nichols, and that he was scheduled to have a call with Hervey that evening. Sure enough, around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, a text came in from Kyle: “We have agreed on a trade for Matt Nichols. Will update you shortly.”

Trades are always tricky for a variety of reasons. Firstly, we have to try our best to keep it as quiet as possible, especially until the player(s) involved know they’re being moved. I’ve mentioned this once before, but when we traded Buck Pierce to the Lions, the trade agreement was in place for five days before the planned announcement date. Not easy on a variety of levels, but it’s part of the job.

So despite the confirmed go-ahead for the morning, everyone involved must keep it as quiet as possible. The last thing we want is a player reading about his trade online. The next morning, both organizations’ communications staffs began quietly preparing, waiting for Matt Nichols to be informed. Around 9:00 a.m. CT, Kyle called my office to inform me that Matt had been contacted by Ed Hervey, Kyle had then spoken with him, and at that point I would reach out to him. 

For the most part, every trade follows a similar protocol, but that can change depending on the situation. There is no one set way to handle every trade, but once the deal is finalized, it’s Director of Football Operations, David Siddall’s turn to take over. From travel logistics to housing, moving and everything else that comes with having to relocate overnight, David will work with the players to ensure a smooth and easy transition. 

Although I’ve had only a few brief conversations with him, friends in Edmonton rave about Matt. He’s one of those guys you want around, not only for his abilities on the field, but his personality and locker room presence. We look forward to seeing him around.

A note on the Labour Day Classic:

Making the trip to Regina this weekend? From 7:30pm – 9:30pm, Bomber fans are invited to Crave Kitchen + Bar (1925 Victoria Avenue) for snacks and drinks. GM Kyle Walters and CEO Wade Miller will be present and more than happy to talk. Also keep an eye out for the Bombers tailgate area on game day and the Bomber Store truck that will be selling team merchandise. See you there!