January 9, 2019

Checking Down: QB talk takes over winter meetings

Adam Gagnon/CFL.ca

TORONTO — Off-season uncertainty continues as presidents, general managers and media attend the annual winter meetings in Mont-Tremblant, Que.

While the Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders are thinking about possible contingency plans at quarterback, the Argos, Alouettes and Ticats are looking to finalize their coaching staffs.

The latest off-season news and notes in this week’s Checking Down:

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The Lions are without a kicker following the departure of Ty Long to the NFL (The Canadian Press)

– According to Ted Wyman, the BC Lions won’t likely pursue their former linebacker Adam Bighill should he become a free agent on Feb. 12 (Ted Wyman, Winnipeg Sun).

– It appears the Lions will be looking for a new kicker this off-season, as Ty Long has inked a deal with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals (Steve Ewen, The Vancouver Province).

– The CFL community is mourning the passing of legendary sports columnist Jim Taylor, who covered the BC Lions for the The Vancouver Province (Ed Willes, The Vancouver Province).


Pending free agent Mike Reilly has been a popular topic during this week’s winter meetings (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– Eskimos GM Brock Sunderland says he’s working hard to secure a contract extension for Mike Reilly, but no concrete agreement has been reached (Gerry Moddejonge, Edmonton Sun).

– Sunderland said if Reilly doesn’t return next season, the Eskimos will pursue a veteran quarterback with CFL experience (Gerry Moddejonge, Edmonton Sun).

– With Duke Williams and Bryant Mitchell already NFL-bound, could Derel Walker become the third Eskimos receiver to depart? (Gerry Moddejonge, Edmonton Sun).


The Stamps aren’t giving up on the possibility of Bo Levi Mitchell returning in 2019 (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson says he believes there’s still a chance Bo Levi Mitchell will be back with the Stamps in 2019 (Dave Naylor, TSN).

– The Stamps have asked Mitchell for a decision by the start of free agency, as the team plans to pursue a veteran quarterback should Mitchell go to the NFL (Daniel Austin, Calgary Herald).

– While Eric Rogers contemplates retirement, there’s also uncertainty surrounding Kamar Jorden‘s availability for next season due to his injured knee as the Stamps could have a new-look receiver group in 2019 (Daniel Austin, Calgary Herald).

– The Stampeders have remained in contact with Roy Finch, but it’s unclear whether the retired running back will ever return as he faces ongoing legal issues (Daniel Austin, Calgary Herald).



– Chris Jones says Mike Edem or Derrick Moncrief could switch to weak side linebacker following Sam Eguavoen’s departure to the NFL (Claire Hanna via Jamie Nye, CJME).

– After signing a contract extension through 2020, Riders head coach and GM Chris Jones says there’s ‘unfinished business’ in Saskatchewan (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).

– Jones says finding a quarterback will be top priority for the Riders this off-season, adding that his team will have plenty of options (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).


Linebacker Adam Bighill will be one of the Bombers’ biggest free agent priorities (Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca)

– Bombers GM Kyle Walters says he’s encouraged by early talks with pending free agent linebacker Adam Bighill (Ted Wyman, Winnipeg Sun).

– The Bombers continue to attack their list of pending free agents, agreeing to new contracts with kicker Justin Medlock and defensive tackle Jake Thomas for 2019 (CFL.ca).


Former Lions defensive coordinator Mark Washington appears to be Hamilton-bound (BCLions.com)

– The Ticats are reportedly set to name Mark Washington their defensive coordinator, while Jeff Reinebold is also expected to return to coach special teams (Steve Milton, The Hamilton Spectator).


Argos general manager Jim Popp says the team isn’t ruling out signing a QB in free agency (CFL.ca)

– Argos GM Jim Popp says he won’t turn a blind eye to the quarterbacks in free agency, as the team will do whatever it takes to improve (Joey Alfieri, TSN 690).

– Newly-hired Argos coach Corey Chamblin is taking the challenge of a new coaching salary cap in stride as he looks to piece together his staff for 2019 (Ted Wyman, Winnipeg Sun).

– Popp says the absence of a new CBA could add a unique twist to free agency come February (Ted Wyman, Winnipeg Sun).


It appears the REDBLACKS have made little progress in contract talks with Trevor Harris (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– According to Tim Baines, the REDBLACKS have told pending free agent linebacker Kyries Hebert that he isn’t in the team’s plans for 2019 (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).

– Ottawa GM Marcel Desjardins says there’s been no significant progress on a new contract for quarterback Trevor Harris, who’s set to become a free agent on Feb. 12 (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).

– In addition to Harris, Desjardins says he also hopes to sign new deals with Dominique Davis, William Powell, SirVincent Rogers and Jonathan Rose, among others (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).

– The REDBLACKS have reportedly signed defensive lineman Danny Mason to a one-year contract extension after recording four sacks in his second CFL season (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).


For Als GM Kavis Reed, finding a defensive coordinator remains a top priority this off-season (Matt Smith/CFL.ca)

– Alouettes GM Kavis Reed says recently-signed Hugo Richard will be viewed as a quarterback and won’t be changing positions (Joey Alfieri, TSN 690).

– The Als are hopeful they’ll be able to fill their vacant defensive coordinator position by the end of the week (Didier Orméjuste, RDS).

– Alouettes pending free agent Lawrence Pittman has reportedly signed with Atlanta of the new Alliance of American Football (Herb Zurkowsky, Montreal Gazette).