February 22, 2018

Checking Down: Open competition in Montreal?

Associated Press

TORONTO — There are plenty of headlines across the CFL as free agency continues, partial negotiation lists are revealed and the league announces plans for CFL Week.

Elsewhere, Alouettes coach Mike Sherman says the starting quarterback job will be a wide open race in Montreal, with Drew Willy and Josh Freeman headlining a large group of pivots.

And finally, while Orlondo Steinauer returns to the CFL, is a different up-and-coming coach leaving?

As free agency winds down, we’re Checking Down on all the latest:

Jump to team:

BC | Calgary | Edmonton | Saskatchewan | Winnipeg | Hamilton | Toronto | Ottawa | Montreal


Lions GM Ed Hervey has had a busy off-season, adding players and restructuring others (BCLions.com)

– Rolly Lumbala is signed up for another two seasons with the Lions. What does the team’s longest-tenured player bring to the team? (J.J. Adams, Vancouver Province).

– Do the BC Lions have the rights to the next rising Canadian QB? Brett Rypien was among the 10 neg list names revealed by the team on Tuesday (Justin Dunk, 3 Down Nation).

– There’s been some work done behind the scenes for Lions GM Ed Hervey, who says he’s restructured the contracts of more than a dozen players (Ed Willes, Vancouver Province).

– The Lions have added some depth at receiver, adding Kieren Duncan and former Ticats and Riders receiver Ricky Collins (CFL.ca).

– What does Black History Month mean to Ed Hervey? The first black GM ever to win a Grey Cup writes about why February is an important month for him and his family (CFL.ca).



A deal months in the making finally got completed this week, as Aaron Grymes has locked in with the Eskimos for another season (Gerry Moddejonge, Edmonton Sun).

– While Brandon Zylstra tests NFL waters, another Zylstra has his sights on the Eskimos and the three-down game (Gerry Moddejonge, Edmonton Sun).


Ciante Evans was among key players brought back by the Stampeders this off-season (Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca)

– After a busy off-season, are the Calgary Stampeders the clear-cut favourites to win the Grey Cup? It was a contentious debate this week on The Waggle (CFL.ca).

– Former Notre Dame safety Bennett Jackson headlines the list of 10 negotiation list players the Stampeders chose to make public this week (Daniel Austin, Calgary Herald).


Duron Carter and Johnny Manziel traded friendly barbs on Twitter this week (The Canadian Press)

– Months after promising to intercept Bo Levi Mitchell, Duron Carter is at it again, this time setting his sights on Johnny Manziel (Caitlyn Holroyd, The Score).

– The Riders have signed international receivers Shaq Evans and Jacoby Ford. The latter spent time on the team’s practice roster last year (CFL.ca).

– Former Riders linebacker Jerrell Freeman has been released by the NFL’s Chicago Bears (NFL.com).


The addition of Craig Roh gives the Bombers much-needed depth at defensive end (David Chidley/CFL.ca)

– With Mark’s CFL Week coming to Winnipeg, the league and the Bombers have revealed the full schedule from March 21 to 25 (CFL.ca).

– Chandler Fenner and Craig Roh are two Bombers additions who made the list of ‘sneaky good signings’ after flying under the radar in free agency (CFL.ca).

– It’s unknown whether he’s retiring, but Clarence Denmark bid farewell to Bombers fans in an ambiguous tweet Thursday afternoon (Twitter).


Orlondo Steinauer has returned to the three-down game as an assistant head coach (Ticats.ca)

– After a one-year absence, Orlondo Steinauer is back in the CFL, accepting a position as an assistant head coach to June Jones in Hamilton (CFL.ca).

– From Robert Griffin III to National Championship-winning quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, there are some intriguing prospects on the Ticats’ negotiation list (Drew Edwards, 3 Down Nation).


The Argos could be without their offensive coordinator next year in Marcus Brady (Argonauts.ca)

– The Argos are reportedly set to lose offensive coordinator Marcus Brady to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, with Tommy Condell being a potential replacement (Justin Dunk, 3 Down Nation).

– Tuesday’s partial neg list reveal offered some intriguing Argos, including former Michigan QB/RB Denard Robinson and Georgia star Aaron Murray (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).

– While the Argos weren’t the busiest team in free agency, they may have had the most impactful signing in halfback T.J. Heath (Pat Steinberg, CFL.ca).

– There was no one quite like Leo Cahill, who brought energy and a unique likeness to the Toronto sports scene during his time as a coach and GM (Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun).


Recently-added Daryl Waud is expected to compete for a starting job in Ottawa (Thomas Makacek/Argonauts.ca)

– A week after the REDBLACKS signed Kyries Hebert, one teammate says the veteran’s work ethic will rub off on the rest of the defence (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).

– New REDBLACKS defensive back Rico Murray says that while Toronto and Montreal also showed interest, his decision to sign in the nation’s capital came down to money (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).

– Marcel Desjardins said he made what he considers a fair offer to linebacker Taylor Reed, but in the end Reed chose the Argos (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).

– After barely playing in 2017, recently-signed Daryl Waud will compete for a starting job on the REDBLACKS’ D-line along with Michael Klassen (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).


The Alouettes released veteran linebacker Kyries Hebert, who quickly signed with Ottawa (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– It appears Kyries Hebert’s departure from Montreal had to do with playing time, as Hebert wouldn’t accept a diminished role on the Als’ defence (3 Down Nation).

– New Alouettes coach Mike Sherman says there will be an open competition for the starting quarterback job, including Josh Freeman and Drew Willy — although a decision will come quickly (Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press).

– Khalil Carter might be a first-time defensive coordinator, but it’s nothing he can’t handle, especially with some help from the veteran Rich Stubler (Herb Zurkowsky, Montreal Gazette).

– After a busy free agency, are the Alouettes primed for big improvement in 2018? It’s debated in the latest from The Waggle (CFL.ca).