February 20, 2019

Checking Down: News and notes as FA19 winds down

Johany Jutras/CFL.ca

TORONTO — After a frantic first week, the list of free agents continues to dwindle in the Canadian Football League.

Ciante Evans and Dylan Wynn are U.S.-bound after joining the AAF, while the Ticats may be thinking about their vacant kicker position — could Lirim Hajrullahu return?

Finally, new BC Lions quarterback Mike Reilly is already talking Xs and Os with receivers Duron Carter and Bryan Burnham, as the hype continues to build towards 2019.

The off-season continues and we’ve got all the latest in this week’s Checking Down:

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– National receiver Shaq Johnson has extended his stay in Vancouver, signing a one-year deal with the BC Lions on Tuesday (CFL.ca).

– Lions GM Ed Hervey has long coveted Duron Carter, last year trying to sign him and later attempting to land him via trade (J.J. Adams, The Vancouver Province).

– Receivers Bryan Burnham and Duron Carter say they’ve already gotten texts and phone calls from Mike Reilly, quizzing them on Xs and Os in preparation for the season (J.J. Adams, The Vancouver Province).

– Lions general manager Ed Hervey says the team’s recent signing spree, notably Mike Reilly, has energized the team’s fan base (Matt Baker, BCLions.com).

– As the market cools, former Lions right tackle Jovan Olafioye is one of the top free agents still available (CFL.ca).



– Esks head coach Jason Maas says passing accuracy is what sets Trevor Harris apart from most other quarterbacks in the CFL (TSN 1260).

– After watching the Stamps win the Grey Cup at Commonwealth, Jason Maas says the Eskimos hope to return the favour in Calgary in 2019 (Gerry Moddejonge, Edmonton Journal).

– Nearly half of the Eskimos’ starters for 2019 are newcomers, as Mike Ludwig of 3 Down Nation breaks down his version of the team’s new-look depth chart (Mike Ludwig, 3 Down Nation).

– Rivals on the field, top quarterbacks Bo Levi Mitchell and Mike Reilly kept in close touch throughout the process of free agency (Pat Steinberg, CFL.ca).



– Stampeders free agent defensive back Ciante Evans has reportedly signed with the AAF’s Salt Lake Stallions (Justin Dunk, 3 Down Nation).

– Despite losing several free agents, Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson says Bo Levi Mitchell brings some much-needed continuity to the Stamps (George Johnson, Stampeders.com).

– After signing for four more years, Bo Levi Mitchell may already lay claim to the greatest quarterback tenure in Stampeders history (Pat Steinberg, CFL.ca).



– For Rob Vanstone, finding a proven veteran backup to Zach Collaros will be critical to the Riders’ success this season (Rob Vanstone, Regina Leader-Post).

– A week after free agency, the Riders’ 2019 configuration is starting to take shape as Jamie Nye breaks down an updated depth chart (Jamie Nye, CFL.ca).

– Riders free agent Jovon Johnson hasn’t officially retired, but the longtime CFL defensive back says he’s going into coaching after taking a job with Defiance College in Ohio (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).



– It appears Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols has agreed to a re-structured contract (Dave Campbell, CHED).

– The Bombers have added three internationals to their roster in receiver Tim Wilson, defensive lineman Alex McCalister and defensive back Joe Este.

– After striking out on some of the big-name receivers in free agency, the Bombers could turn to ‘Plan B’ when it comes to their receiving corps (Ed Tait, BlueBombers.com).

– If the Bombers look to fill Jovan Santos-Knox‘s spot at WILL linebacker, current free agents Marcus Ball and Jeff Knox Jr. would be possible candidates (CFL.ca).



– The Ticats have scratched off their top remaining need in free agency, re-signing national centre Mike Filer (CFL.ca).

– While Tyler Crapigna could be a trade target for the Ticats, the team should still pursue national kicker Lirim Hajrullahu in free agency (Steve Milton, The Hamilton Spectator).

– Recently-signed linebacker Justin Tuggle could be the replacement for free agent departure Larry Dean (Steve Milton, The Hamilton Spectator).

– Ticats free agent receiver Terrell Sinkfield has signed with the Orlando Apollos of the AAF (3 Down Nation).

– Versatile defensive backs Rico Murray and Tunde Adeleke were two of the more impressive under-the-radar signings in free agency for the Ticats (CFL.ca).



– Argos free agent and defensive tackle Dylan Wynn has reportedly signed with the AAF’s Arizona Hotshots (Justin Dunk, 3 Down Nation).

– A month after being released, veteran free agent linebacker Ian Wild has inked a deal with the Argos (CFL.ca).



– With the addition of Philippe Gagnon, the REDBLACKS have six starting-calibre Canadian offensive linemen, an impressive accomplishment for GM Marcel Desjardins (CFL.ca).

– Marcel Desjardins says he isn’t expecting any more big moves from his team in free agency, as the REDBLACKS GM is happy with what’s already in place (Tim Baines, Ottawa Sun).


Alouettes GM Kavis Reed added some key pieces throughout free agency last week (Montreal Alouettes)

– Canadian receiver Felix Faubert-Lussier is returning to his roots after signing a one-year contract with Montreal (CFL.ca).

– The addition of Canadian linebacker Bo Lokombo may have flown under the radar, but the move adds ratio flexibility to the Alouettes’ defence (CFL.ca).

– The Alouettes are looking to achieve a first by incorporating males into their Alouettes dance team, a year after adding men to their stunt team (The Canadian Press).