Here are the nine most significant players released by CFL teams over the weekend:
1. Vince Young, QB, Saskatchewan. The grand experiment involving the 34-year-old former NFL and U.S. college star has come to an inglorious conclusion as the Riders released him outright. His agent says he’s going to back to Texas to rehab but this is, in all likelihood, the last we’ll see of Young north of the border.
2. Drew Willy, QB, Toronto: The Argos sent defensive back T.J. Heath and their first round pick in the 2017 CFL Draft to Winnipeg in exchange for Willy in September last year in what, at the time, felt like a desperation move by then-general manager Jim Barker. Heath was a CFL all-star in 2016 (and will start again this season), the pick turned out to be the first overall (defensive end Faith Ekakitie). Meanwhile, the Argos missed the playoffs, re-did Willy’s deal, gave him a $70,000 signing bonus and have now cut him. In the middle of all that, Barker got fired. By the way, the Argos still owe the Bombers at 2018 third-rounder.
3. Jovon Johnson, DB, Montreal: Johnson has played 10 CFL seasons for four different teams (Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal) and been a very productive player: he’s a five-time East All-Star, a two-time CFL All-Star, the 2011 CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player and a Grey Cup winner in 2007 with the Riders (albeit on the practice roster.) But at 33-years-old, time is catching up with him.
4. Kenny Stafford, REC, Winnipeg: Stafford signed a two-year contract with the Bombers back in January worth approximately $120,000 per season. The deal reunited Stafford with Matt Nichols, the quarterback with whom he enjoyed the best season of his career in Edmonton two years ago. But Stafford has a reputation as a trouble-maker and may have worn out his welcome in Bomberland quickly. More on what it means for the Bombers. UPDATE: Stafford has been added to the Eskimos practice roster.
5. Anthony Allen, RB Saskatchewan Roughriders. This one is a bit of head-scratcher, given that Allen was only signed on June 2. He spent two seasons with the Riders before heading to B.C. for the 2016 season. Allen saw limited action in the pre-season, something he noted when announcing his release on Twitter.
Riderville it was fun… don’t know why I was brought in though only to be let go.. ran the ball once last game
— Anthony Allen (@Ant_Allen) June 17, 2017
6. Mitch Gale, QB, Stampeders. Canadian Andrew Buckley and former NFL pivot Ricky Stanzi beat out the 27-year-old for the right to back up Bo Levi Mitchell. Gale was in Toronto for three seasons before spending 2016 in Saskatchewan. Gale has played in 13 games completing 79 of 137 passes for 950 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. One possible landing spot: Hamilton, where he spent time at the end of the 2015 season.
7. Shakir Bell, RB, Redblacks: Bell spent two years with Edmonton before signing with Ottawa in May. But two fumbles in the pre-season likely didn’t do him any favours as he competed with William Powell and Mossis Madu.
8. Kendial Lawrence, RB/KR, Eskimos: This was Lawrence’s second go-round with Edmonton and the 26-year-old has also had stints in Hamilton and Saskatchewan. The Esks have John White and former Redblack Travon Van, who played well in the pre-season.
9. Ben D’Aguilar, LB, Calgary Stampeders: appeared in 49 regular-season games and two playoff contests over four seasons with the Stamps after being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. D’Aguilar played primarily on special teams, accumulating 35 career special-teams tackles. He also had four defensive tackles, three fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.