February 4, 2018

Roughriders extend defensive end Jefferson

Arthur Ward/CFL.ca

REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed defensive end Willie Jefferson to a contract extension, the team announced Sunday.

Jefferson started all 18 games with the Riders in 2017 including the Eastern Semi-Final and Eastern Final and was named a CFL All-Star and a West Division All-Star.

“Willie is an important part of our team culture and has developed into a leader on and off the field,” stated Chris Jones, Riders Vice-President of Football Operations, General Manager and Head Coach. “He is a versatile player with a rare combination of size and speed. At 27 years old he has lots of good football ahead of him.”

» CFL.ca’s Top 30 Pending Free Agents
» Bio: Willie Jefferson by the numbers
» Official 2018 Free Agent Tracker

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound defensive end enjoyed a career year in 2017, recording career-highs in defensive tackles (45) and sacks (eight). The 26-year-old also led the league in quarterback pressures with 37 and scored a touchdown on a blocked punt.

The Beaumont, TX. native joined the Riders in September of 2016 after attending training camp for the Washington Redskins and suited up in five games. He tallied just eight defensive tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble in his first year in Riderville.

Jefferson began his CFL career with the Edmonton Eskimos (2014-2015) where he played in 35 games in the green and gold while collecting 40 defensive tackles, 10 sacks and three forced fumbles. He also won a Grey Cup with the Esks in 2015.

Jefferson was set to become a free agent on February 13th and was the second-ranked pending free agent on CFL.ca’s top 30 list.