While the fans (and players) wait for the new CBA to be signed and whatever Los CFL Mexicano turns into, the big CFL news over the past week has been the mass exodus of players heading south. Now this is nothing new, it happens every year. The top CFL players (and some who are far from it) get NFL interest and many end up signing a deal. It just seems like this year there are more than usual. By my math (which is questionable at best so please don’t audit me) 9 CFL players signed in the NFL last year. This year 9 have already signed (10 if you include Eguavoen who we released to sign somewhere that has yet to be made official). And I expect more signings before its all said and done.
It’s a double edged sword for the CFL, the good news is that it means the talent level in the CFL is really good (many of us have know this for a while). Also the number of NFL deals should help attract other NFL hopefuls north. The bad news is that some of our best players will be gone for some or all of next season. The other good news though is that most of NFL signings are coming from the Stampeders. F&%& the Stamps (deep down I know that Hufnagel will find a way to carry on as if nothing happened but let me have this momentary joy for now).
Most of the signings so far have not been surprising. Eguavoen and Thurman are elite level LBs. Duke Williams is a talented receiver with NFL size. Ty Long has elite level diving skills. One name that surprised the hell out of me was Tevaughn Campbell. Look I get that he has top level speed which is likely what attracted NFL interest but I have yet to really see that he knows what to do with it. I mean as recently as last year he intercepted a pass and proceeded to give up a safety. As a U of R alumni I wish him well but colour me skeptical on this one.
One person who is most likely not headed south is Chris Jones. A report surfaced last week from Jason La Canfora that Chris Jones had been identified as a person of interest in 2 head coach searches… and you all know that Rider fans are known for dealing rationally with rumours. The reality is that while Jones may appear on a list of 10-20 people of interest, he has yet to be and is unlikely to be interviewed. The fact that he is on NFL radars may be worth monitoring in future years but for 2019 I think its much ado about nothing. Do you honestly think that an NFL team would hire a head coach with zero NFL experience and only position coach experience in college almost 20 years ago? People will draw the comparison to Trestman but he had an extensive NFL resume (including being a coordinator) prior to coming north. So while I might be jinxing things by doing this, I’m going to go ahead a say that Jones is safe.
LB Sam Eguavoen (Ssk) – will be signing shortly with someone
DL Jake Ceresna (Edm) – signed with NY Giants
WR Marken Michel (Cal) – signed with Philadelphia
DL James Vaughters (Cal) – signed with Chicago
DB Tevaughn Campbell (Mtl) – signed with NY Jets
WR Diontae Spencer (Ott) – signed with Pittsburgh
WR Duke Williams (Edm) – signed with Buffalo
LB Jameer Thurman (Cal) – signed with Chicago
K Ty Long (BC) – signed with LA Chargers
DB Mercy Maston (Edm) - signed with Philadelphia
OL Dakota Shepley – tryout with Chicago, Indianapolis
DL Avery Ellis (Ott) – tryout with Detroit
CFL Ins and Outs
Out: WR Kenny Shaw (released)