TORONTO — Help is on the way for a handful of Canadian Football League teams.
Roster moves south of the border open up a whole new pool of talent, while injuries and Grey Cup aspirations create new demand in the CFL.
In Saskatchewan, Jordan Williams-Lambert joins an already young and talented Riders receiving corps after being cut by the Chicago Bears. Craig Dickenson has a crowded group to choose from, which is never a bad problem to have.
The Eskimos have landed two of the big names released by NFL teams, signing defensive linemen Stefan Charles and Mathieu Betts. It’s been six years since Charles was picked in the second round by the Eskimos, while Betts was one of the country’s highest-touted prospects in 2019.
The Alouettes and Ticats have turned to their CFL connections for some support. Montreal brought in 6-foot-5 receiver Chris Matthews following his release from Winnipeg, while the Ticats have added veteran running back Tyrell Sutton to aid an injury-plagued backfield.
In the past, late season additions have paid dividends come playoff time. Last year, Matthews and Bakari Grant filled in on an injured Stamps receiving corps to help Calgary win a Grey Cup.
Which recent signing will pay off this November? The debate is on in The Weekly Say.
Which September signing will have a bigger impact?
Matthew Cauz: Yes, Edmonton is getting a big boost on the defensive line, but defence has not really been the problem for the Eskimos in 2019. I’m going with the 2018 West Division’s Most Outstanding Rookie Jordan Williams-Lambert. Cody Fajardo is going to need all the weapons he can get to beat Winnipeg or the Stampeders.
Chris O’Leary: I want to say Edmonton bulking up its D-line but I think there might be some adjustment time needed for Betts and Charles. Matthews to Montreal stands out. He’s a big target that in theory could help replace B.J. Cunningham and he showed last year with Calgary that he can join a team late and make an impact.
Jamie Nye: I’ve always appreciated the multi-faceted attack that Sutton brings to the game. He runs, catches and blocks well and can bring a stable force to the Hamilton offence with the devastating amount of injuries they’ve suffered to the backfield. The two big receivers however will be hard to ignore and Chris Matthews adding another threat to the Alouettes arsenal will have a bigger impact than Williams-Lambert, who adds to an already deep receiving corps.
Don Landry: I believe it’ll be Jordan Williams-Lambert. Returning to a very good Saskatchewan receiving corps, his familiarity and his impressive skills will mean the Saskatchewan attack has a full house of nightmares for opposing defences to try to handle.
Jim Morris: I’m thinking Williams-Lambert because he gives the Riders more depth at receiver.
Davis Sanchez: Jordan Williams-Lambert.
Marshall Ferguson: Mathieu Betts.. Great chance to add national depth to an already talented pass rush.
Will Andrew Harris’ suspension influence MOP voters?
Ferguson: Means almost nothing to me. His career speaks for itself, a first time violation doesn’t.
O’Leary: The reaction to Harris’ drug test wasn’t as damning as I thought it might have been. That bodes well for his legacy — I wonder, how much will this come up in 2-3 years? — but I think in the short term it could taint an MOP or an outstanding Canadian campaign.
Landry: I think it will need to be considered. And I think it will pull a few votes away from him as it is likely that a forgive and forget attitude will be a little harder to come by the farther away you get from Winnipeg.
Nye: It would influence me. The problem is having that cloud over the head of a league MOP. I’d have a problem having an award winner with a positive PED test in the same season. Now if Harris absolutely dominates the league down the stretch, his on field attributes might be too strong to ignore.
Morris: I guess only the people who vote can answer that question. If I were voting, yes, it would have an effect. I will take Harris at his word that he didn’t know he was taking anything. Still, there was stuff in his system that gave him an advantage.
Sanchez: Doubt he can win now. Missed valuable statistical games and some people won’t vote for him because of the suspension.
Cauz: If it’s close, tie goes to the player who was not suspended for anabolic steroids.
Who will win the CFL West Division?
Landry: What? WHAT? I don’t believe I’ve declined to answer a question in Weekly Say as of yet, but that’s precisely what I’m doing here. I see three terrific contenders and I wouldn’t say any one of them is a clear pick for the stretch run. And as a football fan, I couldn’t be happier about that. Okay, if push comes to shove, Saskatchewan.
Nye: Winnipeg????? Their big win over the Riders without Andrew Harris and Matt Nichols shows again that GM Kyle Walters has built the depth. But with three games in their final six against Sask and Calgary (x2), this is a tough prediction to make. Two losses in those three games and they may finish third.
Morris: Anyone who can answer this question should also have the answer for world peace. I’m thinking Calgary but the only team I’m totally ruling out is BC.
Cauz: I’m going with Calgary. Can’t wait for the Stampeders / Bombers home and home games in Week 19 and Week 20.
Ferguson: Calgary.. Here comes a fresh Bo Levi.
O’Leary: Calgary. They’re 3-0 now with Bo Levi Mitchell back in the lineup and seem to be hitting their stride, just in time for the final third of the season. If they can snag first from Winnipeg they’ll be very tough to beat at home with a Grey Cup berth on the line.