If you ask all of the CFL experts in Montreal, they all seem to be befuddled when it comes to the J.C. Beaulieu for Patrick Lavoie trade. Sure, Lavoie is a former Alouettes player and he has a Grey Cup ring to his credit. But Beaulieu had a productive season in Montreal last year, in spite of the team’s offensive struggles. He is younger, cheaper and plays great special teams. At 30 years of age, Lavoie began his career in Montreal, albeit battling injuries. But his time in Ottawa has been relatively injury-free.
Upon the acquisition of Lavoie, GM Kavis Reed said that he fits their new system. This got my mind turning. If Lavoie is a better fit for what the Als are trying to do offensively, then can we assume it’s because they’re looking to take advantage of his superior pass-catching abilities? It’s the only thing that Alouettes fans can cling to, being that, according to TSN 690’s Joey Alfieri, Beaulieu makes $35,000 less and is only 27 years old.
By extension, if the team is in need of a tight end-like body for pass catching, does this mean that the CFL’s all-time leading receiver Nik Lewis is done as a player in Montreal?
Speaking with Lewis last month, it sounded like he was committed to staying in Montreal, either as a coach or player, depending on what coach Mike Sherman wanted. Last season, Lewis began the year on pace for another 1,000-yard season. But after his record-setting catch, he says the team stopped going to him. If that’s the case, you would think that an athlete as proud as him would want to keep playing and finish more on his own terms.
But re-acquiring Lavoie, to me, is a sign that Montreal is ready to move on from Lewis, rightly or wrongly. Lewis and Montreal management are no doubt speaking this week to determine his future. Being the astute football man, I’m sure Nik saw the Lavoie trade as a potential obstacle to him coming back. After all, the days of Lewis lining up on the outside and going deep are behind him. He makes his money these days by living over the middle and turning short passes into productive plays.
So, the Alouettes welcome Lavoie back into the fold and hope that his second tenure with the team will be much healthier. Meanwhile, we await word on the future of a future hall-of-famer. My money is on the team offering Lewis a coaching position and then him taking some time to both contemplate retirement and field other playing offers.
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