The day started when news broke that Duron was charged with pot possession at the Saskatoon airport. I can't begin to fathom why taking weed to the airport seemed like a good idea but it's not like anyone is surprised that Duron is an enthusiast of the Green in Green and White, and its also not surprising that he would have a lapse in judgement. Apparently he also was charged in Winnipeg back in November (just further evidence that nothing good happens in Winnipeg). I'm actually amazed the November charge stayed quiet for this long. If a Rider farted in public it would be front page news in this province. Now most people (myself included) could care less if Duron takes a puff now and then (next to working out, weed may be the second biggest past-time in the CFL). But with 2 charges (and one of them at the airport), it likely means we have to do something. Maybe a fine, hopefully not a suspension, maybe we'll just relegate him to CB again. The bottom line is we need to get Duron a fall guy. Dan Clark, you are officially in charge of carrying Duron's luggage.
The more positive Rider news is that a couple trades led to us acquiring Charleston Hughes. Charleston Hughes as in the perennial all-star D-end. As in only once in the past 6 seasons has he had less than 10 sacks. As in, everyone who plays opposite of him has career years. At 34 his age is somewhat of a concern but he had 11 sacks in 14 games last season so clearly he's got something left in the tank. He is a huge boost to a team that struggled to to find a D-lineman that could take some of the pressure off Jefferson. With all intended disrespect to AC Leonard we have replaced a converted TE with one of the past pass rushers of the past decade. This is huge! Him and Jefferson should be fun to watch. It also means that we no longer have to defend against him as he always seems to have big games against us.
The cost for Hughes was Vernon Adams and it essentially boiled down to money. Collaros and Bridge are entrenched as 1 and 2 so at best Adams was going to be the #3. He was making decent money for a #3 with no real chance at starting anytime soon. So while he has potential, in shipping him off we save a bit of $ and give Marquise Williams a shot to be the new "comes in randomly to execute a super obvious QB run play" guy.
Other Rider news included Willie Jefferson finally OFFICIALLY re-signing. There was a report back before the new year that a deal was agreed to and Jones repeatedly said he expected Jefferson to be back but the delay in it becoming official had some people worried. Not me though. I was always confident, particularly this weekend when Jefferson tweeted out a Watermelon emoji. I'm not a internet law expect but I'm fairly certain fruit emojis are contractually binding. Jefferson is far and away our best defender and keeping him here is super important. We also released Kacy Rogers to sign in the NFL (widely expected for a while now, at least by me) and Erik Dargan to not sign in the NFL (not widely expected but not a big loss). We also released Kienan LaFrance which was hardly surprising. We signed him to a $110K contract to be a starting Cdn RB. He lost the job to Marshall/Richardson/Thigpen. He's a decent guy to have around but was making too much $ for his role.
In addition to Charleston Hughes getting flipped to Hamilton then us, another high profile D-end was shipped east only to be sent back West quickly. Odell Willis, the mayor of Swaggerville, turkey gobble enthusiast and part time kickoff guy was sent to Ottawa before being flipped to BC. I get why Edmonton dumped Odell for a younger, cheaper promising prospect. I get why BC wanted to upgrade their D-line. I don't get what Ottawa got out of the deal. Other than to stamp Willis' CFL passport which now has 6 teams checked off... Kevin Glenn, here he comes.
Micah Awe (BC) – Signed with NY Jets
Jeff Knox (Ssk) – Will soon sign
DeVier Posey (Tor) – Signed with Baltimore
Kacy Rogers (Ssk) – Will soon sign
Luke Tasker (Ham) – workout with NY Jets
CFL Ins and Outs
In: DL Willie Jefferson (contract extension), DL Charleston Hughes (trade)
Out: LB Jeff Knox (signed in NFL), RB Kienan LaFrance, RB Shakir Bell, LB Erik Dargan (released), QB Vernon Adams (trade with Ham)
In: DL Ja’Gared Davis (contract extension)
Out: DB Josh Bell (retired to become a coach), OL Dan Federkeil (retired)
In: OL Hunter Steward (contract extension), DL Odell Willis (trade), WR Jenson Stoshak, WR Robert Wheelwright, WR Mitchell Hillis (free agent signing)
Out: LB Micah Awe (released to sign in the NFL)
In: WR Kenny Stafford (contract extension), DL Jake Ceresna (trade with Ott) DB Ahmad Dixon (free agent signing)
Out: DL Odell Willis (trade)
In: DB Anthony Gaitor (free agent signing)
Out: QB Dominique Davis (released)
In: DB Demond Washington, DL Justin Capicciotti (contract extension)
Out: DB Emmanuel Davis (released)
In: WR Noel Thomas (free agent signing), FB Jean-Christophe Beaulieu (trade with Mtl)
Out: FB Patrick Lavoie (trade with Mtl), DL Jake Ceresna (trade with Edm)
In: QB Ricky Ray (contract extension)
In: FB Patrick Lavoie (trade with Ott)
Out: FB Jean-Christophe Beaulieu (trade with Ott), LB Frederic Plesius (released)