January 22, 2020

Checking Down: News and notes from the off-season

Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca

TORONTO — With free agency around the corner, teams across the league have started to lock up some of their players with expiring contracts.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have inked a few Canadians this week while the REDBLACKS have signed a trio of defenders.

Pending free agent quarterback Nick Arbuckle has completed his tour of Ottawa.

Plus, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have promoted Buck Pierce to offensive coordinator.

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

Jump to team:

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


Jonathan Newsome will return to the Lions in 2020 (Johany Jutras/CFL.ca)

– The Lions signed American defensive lineman Jonathan Newsome to a one-year contract (CFL.ca).  



– The Edmonton Eskimos finalized their coaching staff for the 2020 season on Tuesday (CFL.ca).

– Edmonton has released defensive lineman Kendal Vickers in order to pursue NFL opportunities on Monday (CFL.ca).


Mike Rose signed a two-year deal to remain in Calgary (Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca)

– The Stampeders signed American defensive lineman Mike Rose to a two-year deal that runs through the 2021 season on Tuesday (CFL.ca). 

– Fresh off signing a new contract, Stamps defensive lineman Folarin Orimolade has been making the most of his off-season, travelling to three new places (Paul Mawdsley, Stampeders.com)



Solomon Elimimian was a force in 2019 and according to CFL.ca’s MMQB, there’s still plenty left in the tank for the veteran linebacker (Pat Steinberg, CFL.ca).

– After playing injured in the Western Final last year, Cody Fajardo says he’s finally completely healed from the oblique injury (CBC.ca).

– In roster news, the Riders inked A.C. Leonard to a two-year contract on Wednesday (CFL.ca).



– The Bombers announced their coaching staff for the 2020 season, including the promotion of Buck Pierce to offensive coordinator (CFL.ca).

– There’s no quick fix in free agency, but the right player, like Matt Nichols, can help make a good team a great one (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).

– Winnipeg inked one of their biggest pending free agents, Stanley Bryant, to a contract extension on Monday (CFL.ca).

– In other roster news, the Bombers signed American DB Nick Taylor to an extension and added American DE Alex McCalister (CFL.ca).

– With his first CFL season behind him, Thiadric Hansen has worked hard to be a good example for Global players who aspire to play in the league (Kristina Costabile, CFL.ca).

– According to a report from TSN’s Dave Naylor, Matt Nichols is ‘upset’ that the Bombers are prioritizing signing Zach Collaros to a new contract (TSN.ca).


Following a successful 2019 season, Tunde Adeleke is returning to Hamilton (The Canadian Press)

– The Ticats locked up Canadian offensive lineman Kay Okafor, signing him to a two-year extension on Tuesday (CFL.ca).

– Hamilton also kept another Canadian on their roster, signing defensive back Tunde Adeleke to a two-year extension (CFL.ca). 

– He signed a new contract extension earlier this month and DL Ted Laurent had the full support from his family in Montreal to remain in Hamilton (Louie B., Ticats.ca).



– According to a report from 3DownNation‘s John Hodge, the Argos are set to announce their coordinators for the 2020 season (CFL.ca).

– The Argos have signed American defensive back Stanley Jean-Baptiste through the 2022 season (Argonauts.ca).

– In more roster news, Toronto also signed American DL Whitney Richardson and American DB Kadeem Satchell (Argonauts.ca).


Nick Arbuckle has completed and returned from his visit in Ottawa (Larry MacDougal/CFL.ca)

– CFL.ca’s Marshall Ferguson breaks down what went wrong for the Ottawa REDBLACKS in 2019 and how a new head coach could turn the team’s fortunes around (Marshall Ferguson, CFL.ca).

– In roster news, the REDBLACKS have extended three defenders; Danny Mason, Avery Ellis and Michael Wakefield (CFL.ca) .

– The team also signed American defensive back Sherrod Baltimore and Canadian fullback Anthony Gosselin for 2020 (CFL.ca).

Nick Arbuckle returned from his visit to Ottawa on Tuesday. He met with all levels of the organization (ownership, coaches, equipment staff, etc.) and had an extensive tour of the city but no contract negotiations have begun (Farhan Lalji, TSN).



– The Alouettes signed Canadian receiver Chris Osei-Kusi to a two-year deal (MontrealAlouettes.com).

– Montreal also inked returner Mario Alford to a one-year extension (CFL.ca).