Why the Ticats traded Abdul Kanneh and what it means

Some quick thoughts on the Ticats decision to trade defensive back Abdul Kanneh to the Toronto Argonauts:

1. This is what a team does when they are trying to get anything for a guy they are about to cut. An eighth-round pick is, essentially, a slight upgrade from a bag of footballs unless a team gets extremely lucky. It allows Kanneh to stay on his existing deal, however, and allows the Ticats to salvage something.

2. My colleague Steve Milton, who has been at every day of training camp, told me last week that he thought Kanneh was on the bubble. He was taking fewer reps with the first team. Kanneh played some boundary half (where he was an all-star in Ottawa) but spent a lot of time at boundary corner in camp. He was the team’s starting SAM for much of the tail end of last season.

3. Milton is pretty convinced the Ticats are going to play a ton of man-to-man under new defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville and there were questions whether Kanneh was well suited to that scheme. Remember that Kanneh was signed during the old Kent Austin regime with a different DC in place. New coaches like different guys.

4. There should be some cap savings from the move, given that Kanneh was signed as a free agent before last season after an all-star performance in 2016.

5. The Ticats cuts still haven’t been released (!!!) so it’s tough to get a sense of what the secondary will look like week one. We know Stephen will be the starter at safety and Richard Leonard will be the field half Jumal Rolle is likely in the mix as is Frankie Williams after that… the status of Don Unamba, who went down in the win over the Alouettes on Saturday, will also be a factor.

6. Trading Kanneh to the Argos is tough because they are division rival, though I would imagine they shopped him across the CFL. The Ticats have seen a few guys head down the QEW and have success including defensive backs Cassius Vaughn and Rico Murray now with Ottawa both of whom have Grey Cup rings. Kanneh strikes me as the type of guy who will take some pleasure in sticking it to his old team.

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.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1519 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.

16 Comments on Why the Ticats traded Abdul Kanneh and what it means

  1. Kanneh is a versatile player which I know the team want to have but if he isn’t going to fit in with the way Glanville wants to run the defense, it’s better to get something rather than nothing. Too bad that the team most interested is our biggest rival. 🙁

    • Ticats got nothing! an 8th round pick means squat.
      We are seeing 2 first rounders from the 2017 draft cut today and a Hec Creighton winner and first rounder Ilnicki cut by Ottawa.
      “Trading” him means the player gets to keep his salary, this was for the benefit of the player

  2. Salary savings plus Williams showing well and able to return kicks (and he’s got wheels, as shown during his punt return TD vs. the Argos)

    I liked Kanneh when he played in Ottawa. If he’d played more than a few games last year I’d probably be more disappointed, but I think he’s still got a decent career ahead for himself in the CFL.

  3. Cats need to pick up Anthony Parker cut in Calgary – would have to be an upgrade over the current national receivers.

  4. Jeff, Illnicki was not a first rounder for Ottawa, Evan Johnson at guard was. For the past 4 seasons, Ottawa has gone with an offensive lineman. As for Illnicki, he didn’t fit in the offense very well, and there was much more talent at RB when you have Powell, Madu, Gillanders and a versatile fullback in Anthony Gosselin who has a bulky size and insane speed.

    For Kanneh, even in Ottawa, Grey Cup was one of his only performances on that year. Around the last half of the 2014 season and in 2015, he was an aggressive tackler and fast. He has slowed down and has let guys beat him, which is why Ottawa switched him to HB. Even at HB, he was a small guy and struggled a little with it, which is why Ottawa wasn’t the least bit sorry they didn’t resign him. He ran his mouth on the field, and costed a lot of penalties, for someone who is losing his ability, and thinks because he managed to get lucky and win us the cup, that his is a super star, who can demand all sorts of money.

    Maybe things might turn around for him this year, but hamilton has found better talent, who will not cost them as much, keeping in mind another factor that came with Ottawa not signing him back, and Hamilton letting him go is $$$.

  5. Barry McCawkiner // June 10, 2018 at 1:17 pm //

    Kanneh has stunk since he got to the Hammer. He got embarassed against the Argos in our first preseason game. Can’t think of one play he’s made. Frankie Williams and Joel Ross have outperformed him thusfar. Williams is a baller and Ross has wheels in the secondary. Watch the Als game again and focus on Ross – he’s electric fast back there.

  6. Kanneh was a CB – – not a HB – – when he was an all star in 2015.

    Trying to switch him to HB and then the LB was a dumb personnel decision.

    As I’ve explained numerous times there’s two things a leader has to do…

    Number one, get control of the situation. Number two, put people in a position to succeed.

    Both Hamilton and the RedBags failed to put Kanneh in a position to succeed. He was an all star CB at age 25 – – it defies logic to suddenly switch him to HB and then to LB.

    • Agree, the Cats did the same with Rico Murray.

    • Mikefrmthhammer // June 10, 2018 at 1:40 pm //

      He got beat as a CB against the ‘blos in the first exhibition game. Didn’t look like he even tried on the play to these old eyes.

    • Kanneh’s usual position was on the injury list – that may have played a factor in him being traded as well.

  7. Agree with the comment from @mikefrmthhammer… on ARGOS first TD a simple fade route to the corner of the South end zone… Kanneh was badly outplayed by a 2nd stringer… I’m going back a few years to quote Obie… “Better is better…” and Kanneh was outplayed by the new kids in camp…

  8. Clay Connor // June 10, 2018 at 8:20 pm //

    As I recall, Ticat fans weren’t particularly concerned when the team let Cassius Vaughan go last year. Argos would not have won the Grey Cup without him. Kanneh may not work out with Argos, but it didn’t cost them much to take a look.

    • Mikefrmthhammer // June 11, 2018 at 9:30 am //

      Vaughan = right place, right time. He saw a fumbled football in front of him with nothing between him and the goal line. ANY DB would have made that play. Heck even McManus would have had a chance. 😉

  9. Philski // June 11, 2018 at 5:11 am //

    Don’t know what all the fuss is about. Dude played a whole 7 games last year. Got injured in training camp before the season even began and then went out in the first quarter of a Stump game on his return. Big free agent signing. Yeah, right.

  10. Tiger man // June 12, 2018 at 9:31 am //

    Was excited with his signing here in Hamilton, especially with the problems our secondary was going through.

    Sad to see him leave.

    Best wishes Abdul on your career going forward.

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