Martell Mallett is out for the season. Mallett suffered a torn Achilles tendon during the team's morning traning camp session and will miss the entire 2012 season. This is another setback for a player that has had many over the last couple of years. The reason his NFL career never advanced was due to injuries. I hope he has a speedy recovery and can show in 2013 why he was so sought after.
But Mallett's injury means the team needs a new starter at running back. But just who might that new starter be? As much as I have liked Chevon Walker, I must eliminate him before we get started. He has looked great in camp, but his zero games of CFL experience is not something I think the team will comfortable with. I think if given a shot, he could be the next DeAndra' Cobb (but better), but with this being a veteran-laden team, I think they'll want a proven rusher in the backfield. So with that said, here are a few candidates for the job.
Maybe the most obvious candidate, and the one that is probably going to be the most popular, is Avon Cobourne. I know I would welcome him back with open arms. I think he did everything that the team asked of him last year. I was surprised when the team signed Mallet and released Cobourne. I think Cobourne would relish the chance to return to Hamilton and show that he never should have been replaced. The guy plays with a chip on his shoulder at the best of times and having been cut would add even more fuel to his fire. He's probably the guy the fans want, but that doesn't mean the team does.
The guy the team may want is Joffrey Reynolds. His connections to both Henry Burris and George Cortez from their days in Calgary make him an attractice option. He looks more on the decline than Cobourne – who, in my opinion, does not look even close to done – but perhaps getting back into a system that he's had success in would be the magic elixir to ward off Father Time.
Wes Cates, who has already received a phone call, is another guy that could take Mallett's place. He had some good years in Saskatchewan, and would make for a fine replacements. I don't know how likely it is that Cates would sign and, out of the three big-name veterans available, I'd rank him as the one with the longest odds of becoming a Tiger-Cat.
Another possible scenario sees the Cats wait it out and see what running backs get cut. I bring this up as a possibility, but it has less of a chance of happening of any possible outcome. I just don't see the team waiting that long to pick someone up. It is still early in camp, so there is plenty of time for a new guy to learn the system before the season starts. I would be stunned if the team waited until after camp and after the preseason to pick Mallett's replacement.
I have to think Obie, Cortez and the entire football ops staff are going over everything deciding what to do. I think the replacement will be signed sooner rather than later, perhaps as early as tomorrow morning. No matter what the team does, they will do it quickly.