WINNIPEG - With defensive lineman Bryant Turner and receiver Clarence Denmark signed or nearly there, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have locked down the last of the free agents they wanted to keep.
They've already lost defensive lineman Jason Vega to the NFL, general manager Joe Mack confirmed Thursday.
"I hate to lose him," said Mack. "He's a good guy and a hard worker."
But Mack was surprised to find out last week the club has also likely lost linebacker Marcellus Bowman to injury.
Mack says there had been NFL interest in Bowman as well. However, the team learned Bowman had a serious knee injury that required surgery and now he'll need many months to recover.
"I was shocked to be quite frank with you that it was something that serious at this stage of the game," Mack said.
Mack knew of about five teams interested in the talented player but right now everything is on hold. Mack didn't want to go into details regarding Bowman's injury without first clearing it with the player, who has spent three seasons with Winnipeg.
Mack said neither he nor the player know how the injury came about and that discussions with Bowman's agent continue.
"In deference to the fact that Marcellus has been such a good player and also such a good person, I am willing to do something from a contract standpoint to keep him on the team," Mack said.
But Mack is prepared to let defensive back Deon Beasley and defensive lineman Fernand Kashama become free agents at the noon ET on Friday deadline.
Mack doesn't expect to be busy in free agency, saying he's not really interested in any of the players that remain. Mack did have his eye on five potential free agents, but they all re-signed with their respective clubs.
There's no obvious help at quarterback, a position the Bombers have said they need improvement at.
The club still likes veteran Buck Pierce but he has always battled injuries. That has allowed backups Alex Brink and Joey Elliott to see action, but neither has been especially impressive.
A third backup, Justin Goltz, hasn't seen much action and is seen as a possible future prospect for a club looking for more immediate help now.
Mack said the Bombers have considered other quarterback prospects but some of those are still waiting to see if they have a chance to play in the NFL.