The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have locked up a trio of offensive weapons best described as players with upside, but who remain huge question marks.
The club announced Friday it has re-signed quarterback Justin Goltz and running backs Chris Garrett and Carl Volny – all three of whom were scheduled to become free agents in February.
"We are very happy to have Justin, Chris and Carl locked up as we feel all three of them have bright futures ahead of them in this league," GM Joe Mack said in a press release. "Justin has been a part of our organization for the better part of three seasons and has progressed tremendously over that time. We look forward to having him compete for a higher spot on our depth chart next season.
"Chris was having a great training camp and preseason last year before suffering a devastating injury that kept him out for the entire season and we feel he has fully recovered and will look to have him return to the form he showed in 2011 when he was a key part of our offence. Carl is a quality non-import player who has contributed to our team both on offence and on special teams. We’re very happy to have all three players back in Blue and Gold."
Goltz (6-5, 210, Occidental) is arguably the juiciest of the three signings, as the Bombers love his upside so much they believe he can challenge for the starting quarterback gig next year. His playing time is limited, he saw action in two games last year, after originally signing with Winnipeg in October of 2010. He has dressed for 28 games, including the 2011 East Final and Grey Cup. His CFL numbers: 7 of 14 for 75 yards and one TD.
"I’m very happy to get this deal done so that I can remain with the organization that gave me a chance three years ago," said Goltz in the release. "I can’t wait to get started on next season in our new stadium and I’m looking forward to competing in training camp."
A three-year starter at Occidental College, Goltz led his team to an undefeated record as a senior and was named the 2008 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
Garrett (5-7, 197, Ohio) returns after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in training camp and missing all of the 2012 season. But the second-half of his 2011 season was spectacular as he replaced an injured Fred Reid and piled up 576 yards rushing and four touchdowns in six games before shining with 190 yards and a score in the East Final.
"Last year was tough for me to have to sit out and watch as my teammates went to work every day and I knew there was nothing I could do to help them on the field," said Garrett. "I’m excited to get back to Winnipeg fully healthy and give this team another option and help them get back to the playoffs."
Garrett will be in tough to supplant the Bombers’ incumbent tailback, Chad Simpson, but was also a dominant kick returner when the team first signed him out of Ohio.
Volny (5-10, 204, Central Michigan) has also battled injuries. Originally drafted by the Bombers in the fifth round (32nd overall) of the 2011 CFL Draft, Volny tore his ACL in September of 2011 and didn’t return until later in 2012. He made his first pro start in the final game of 2012, rushing 14 times for 64 yards.
"I am very grateful to the Blue Bomber organization for giving me an opportunity to play football professionally when they drafted me two years ago," said Volny, also in the press release. "The past two seasons have been tough rehabbing from injury, but I’m looking forward to coming back to camp healthy and ready to contribute in any way I can."