January 30, 2020

Checking Down: Free agency nears

Geoff Robins/CFL.ca

TORONTO — The Winnipeg Blue Bombers made a splash this week, signing Zach Collaros to an extension and releasing Matt Nichols.

James Wilder Jr. is back on a CFL team, signing a one-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes.

Speaking of Montreal, the team signed QB Vernon Adams Jr. to a three-year extension.

Plus, as free agency looms, teams are still locking up players with expiring contracts.

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


Aaron Grymes signed a two-year deal with the Lions this week (Jimmy Jeong/CFL.ca)

– The BC Lions have extended the contract of defensive back Aaron Grymes, the team announced on Wednesday (CFL.ca).

– With a new contract in hand, Grymes believes the Lions are building something special in B.C. (Matt Baker, BCLions.com).

– In more roster news, the Lions signed DB T.J. Lee through the 2021 season (CFL.ca).

– They also signed offensive lineman Hunter Steward to a contract extension that will see him stay with the franchise through 2021 (CFL.ca). 

– In a tweet, quarterback Will Arndt announced he would be signing with the Lions (TSN.ca).



– The Esks inked offensive lineman David Beard to a contract extension that will see him stick with the Green and Gold through the 2022 (CFL.ca).

– In other roster news, Eskimos have signed receiver Kenny Shaw and inked three players from their 2019 draft class (CFL.ca).

– They also extended the contract of returner Christion Jones (CFL.ca).

Jordan Hoover will return to Edmonton next season, signing a two-year extension on Thursday (CFL.ca).

– The Edmonton Eskimos ongoing relationship with Canada’s Inuit community took them to Inuvik in early January for the Sunrise Festival (CFL.ca).


It appears DB Tre Roberson will sign with an NFL team (Arthur Ward/CFL.ca)

– According to report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, defensive back Tre Roberson has signed a contract with the NFL’s Chicago Bears (CFL.ca). 


Craig Dickenson has announced his 2020 coaching staff (Riderville.com)

– The Riders officially announced the staff that will work alongside head coach Craig Dickenson for the 2020 season (CFL.ca).

– Saskatchewan is building around Cody Fajardo and the passion he has for Rider Nation (Pat Steinberg, CFL.ca).

– Free agency looks a little different for players that work as their own agents, like Riders receiver Kenny Stafford (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).



– The Bombers announced that the team has signed Zach Collaros to a two-year contract extension (CFL.ca).

– Following the extension of Collaros, the Bombers released veteran QB Matt Nichols (CFL.ca).

– The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ choice to go with Zach Collaros is one that could shape the 2020 off-season, but what should the Blue and Gold expect from their new full-time starter? (Marshall Ferguson, CFL.ca).

Zach Collaros‘ unprecedented story gets its latest chapter after the veteran QB signed a two-year deal with the Bombers, unseating Matt Nichols as the starter in the process (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).

– The Bombers have had a difficult QB decision hanging over them since they won the Grey Cup and on Monday, they chose Zach Collaros (Chris O’Leary, CFL.ca).

– Choosing to release Nichols was a ‘gut-wrenching’ decision for the Blue Bombers (Paul Friesen, CFL.ca).


David Watford will return to Hamilton in 2020 after signing a new deal (The Canadian Press)

– The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have extended QB David Watford, the team announced Wednesday (CFL.ca).

– Ja’Gared Davis has only known how to win over his four-year tenure in the CFL, and following a big year in 2019, he’s poised to give opposing offences issues again in 2020 (CFL.ca). 

– Hamilton added a trio of American players on Thursday (Ticats.ca).



– Argonauts receiver Chandler Worthy opened up about the pressures of uncertainty as a professional athlete, and how it has had him feeling “completely empty” (CFL.ca).

– With a new power structure in place, the Toronto Argonauts are looking to move past a forgettable 2019 season and build back to being a championship contender (CFL.ca).

– According to a report from TSN’s Farhan Lalji, Matt Nichols is set to travel to Toronto to meet with the Argonauts (TSN.ca).


Will Matt Nichols sign a deal with the REDBLACKS? (Jason Halstead/CFL.ca)

– According to a report from TSN’s Farhan Lalji, the Ottawa REDBLACKS were one of two teams to inquire about QB Matt Nichols (CFL.ca). 



– While being a standout between the lines, Montreal Alouettes receiver Eugene Lewis has also taken time to help any teammates that need to talk about issues away from the field (CFL.ca).

– For #BellLetsTalk day, Lewis shares his story of watching his father deal with and overcome depression and how it has motivated him to be a better athlete, but also to but also to help others (The Waggle, CFL.ca)

– The Alouettes have signed Vernon Adams Jr. through the 2022 season (CFL.ca)

– Adams Jr. is looking to take a leading role with the Als after signing a multi-year extension to stay in Montreal (CFL.ca).

– In more roster news, the Als signed a trio of Canadians including D.J. Lalama (CFL.ca).

– The Als released American QB Antonio Pipkin on Thursday (CFL.ca).

– They also added running back James Wilder Jr., signing the former Argonaut to a one-year deal (CFL.ca).

– It’s a homecoming for Barron Miles, who returns to Montreal as the Alouettes’ defensive backs coach (Herb Zurkowski, Montreal Gazette).