With Maher in Ottawa, Ticats’ kicking fixes are limited

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are now kicking without a net.

Former Ticats kicker Brett Maher has signed with the Ottawa Redblacks, per sources, robbing the Ticats of one possible solution to their kicking concerns.

Head coach Kent Austin said after a 30-29 loss to Ottawa on Thursday that the team would “probably continue to look” after so-so performances by Sergio Castillo and Ryan Hawkins.

Maher got a reported $25,000 signing bonus from the Redblacks — something the Ticats had been reluctant to offer the 27-year-old in contract talks this winter. The two sides had recently re-opened negotiations, but Ottawa moved quickly to get Maher’s name on the dotted line.

Ottawa currently has two kickers on the roster in American Ray Early and Canadian Ray Medeiros, and the pair went five-for-five on field goal attempts against Hamilton. But Early is known more as a punter while Medeiros is untested: Maher gives them a proven performer who can do all three jobs.

Early attended Hamilton mini-camp in 2016 but suffered an injury. It will be interesting to see if he becomes a possibility for the Ticats should Ottawa release him, as expected.

There are also a few other CFL veterans available, including Canadians Chris Milo, Grant Shaw and Ronnie Pfeffer, and American Anthony Fera, who kicked for B.C. and Montreal last season. The Riders’ Quinn Van Gylswyk might be available via trade as Saskatchewan also has punter Josh Bartel and place-kicker Tyler Crapigna.

Austin has made it clear he prefers one American to do all three jobs as opposed to a pair of Canadians or a national-international combo, which further limits Hamilton’s options.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (953 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

33 Comments on With Maher in Ottawa, Ticats’ kicking fixes are limited

  1. Pickings are slim right now for kickers. Shaw and Pfeffer are punters with inconsistent Placekicking abilities. Chris Milo is about 85-years old, and although he kicked well while last with the RedBlacks, as a Canadian kicker, if he had anything left in the tank, he’d be employed. Anthony Fera, maybe, but if he couldn’t beat out Boris Bede, who was terrible in Montreal last year, then I don’t hold out much hope for him.

    I say grab whomever the RedBlacks opt not to keep.

    • Yikes – Milo just turned 30.

    • Montreal is hoping the problem with Boris Bede last year was just a sophomore jinx. No way would they choose Anthony Fera this yearover Bede as Boris just has an unmatched monster leg.

      Fera’s kicking specialty is place kicking. If that part of the kicking game is top priority, then I would seriously consider Fera.

  2. Rick cowan // June 10, 2017 at 9:53 am //

    I think you may see Hamilton trying to make a trade with the Riders for Van Gysluk maybe for defensive back Will Hill

  3. Lindsay Wilcox // June 10, 2017 at 9:56 am //

    Regardless of Austin’s preference, his hands may be tied by salary cap vs. contract demands of kickers, Canadian vs. American ratio, availability of proven kickers vs. trade for one, AND time – to bring a kicker in check him out/get him up to speed. Perhaps one of Ottawa’s cuts PLUS Castillo ?

  4. Ticats brass screwed this on up way back when they let you know who go I’m not gonna mention names .hopefully they get it figured out I would hate to see close game decided by the kicking game turned into losses .

    • Philly Canuck // June 10, 2017 at 6:06 pm //

      No they didn’t…there is NO kicker in the CFL worth $150-175k, which is what the Peg paid he who will not named…and they didn’t get any further than we did last year, so you have to ask if the investment paid off?

  5. Billinburlington // June 10, 2017 at 10:18 am //

    Wow- Maher was expected to return to the Ticats. Now… the kicking game has become a big concern. Make that .. continues to be a big concern. That’s two consecutive years the Cats have lost a viable kicker… time to put more value into this position. As a Ticat fan I’m not impressed.

    • Maher was never “expected” to return to the Ticats – it was no more than a possibility – but of course that ship has now sailed. Early has just been released by the OTTRBs so I won’t be surprised if he is signed here. Pfeffer (National I think?) might be another possibility. If they could bring in at least one national for either punting or place kicking then the possibility of having two kickers to handle the job might be considered, similar to what the team did bringing in Hugh O’Neill to punt about three years ago.

  6. StoneyCreekStan // June 10, 2017 at 10:28 am //

    We may be forced into a bonehead trade for a kicker. Who takes the blame for this FU.

    • Let’s not forget that while Austin is VP and in control of all the strings and buttons, he has Tillman as GM, Burke and Allemang as assistant GMs, and some other guys scouting and such.

      The buck may stop with Kent, but his ops team needs to be looking at the dimes and quarters to make up the change.

  7. StoneyCreekStan // June 10, 2017 at 10:33 am //

    KA should assign another coach to solve this problem, he doesn’t seem to be having any luck.

  8. Next option, Ty Long.

  9. mrnehnehincognito // June 10, 2017 at 11:32 am //

    Beginning of the end for Kent Austin?

  10. Don’t forget these decisions also go through Eric Tillman

  11. I remember the days of Bernie and Ozzie when FG kickers were a one of the strengths of the team. We’ve gone downhill big time since we let Medlock leave.
    I don’t recall a team going all the way without a FG kicker, and I don’t see the Ticats going all the way this year without one.

  12. Strategic signing in Ottawa, one less option for an Eastern rival.

  13. Eddiefelson // June 10, 2017 at 8:40 pm //

    Maher a proven performer? Am I the only one that remembers him choking and costing us 4 games last year?
    Ottawa is a good place for him….bye

    • Evil Doctor // June 10, 2017 at 10:15 pm //

      He better than most of the kickers in this league and better than any of the suggested replacements. So now we have no kicker and you think that’s better? Okay then…

      • Eddiefelson // June 10, 2017 at 10:21 pm //

        That doesnt say much for the league kickers then. A kicker is supposed to win games not lose them.

        It shouldnt be hard to find an out of work kicker that can be relied on in the clutch.

  14. canadianfootballfan // June 10, 2017 at 9:01 pm //

    I feel Castillo will be a workable kicker if allowed more time.

  15. gocatsgo // June 10, 2017 at 9:05 pm //

    Take Crapigna if he is available and keep scouring the NFL , gotta be a guy out there!

  16. gocatsgo // June 10, 2017 at 9:13 pm //

    Professional football teams do not succeed without a consistent kicking game….if they don’t get one in place this team will look ridiculous as they start losing games because their kicking stinks ! There are also many US college kickers available every year…can’t believe they can’t find one who can do the job but maybe if they are offering a low starting salary it is not worth it for these guys to consider even coming here…

  17. Baffling WHY the Redblacks would cut Early. His #s look good so far. Castillo should get the job unless his #s go south real fast.

  18. Sergio Castillo is going to be fine.

    It’s only 1 PRE-Season game for God Sake.

  19. you will never get crapina he is signed though 2019 dream on

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