Félix Ménard-Brière was released yesterday morning by the Blue Bombers, a roster move that came fourteen hours after the club’s announcement of its final cuts.
Ménard-Brière was offered a spot on Winnipeg’s practice roster, an offer he found unpalatable after a great preseason. The Bombers then spent the final hours prior to Sunday’s cut-down deadline seeking a trade partner for Ménard-Brière, though a deal was not consummated in time.
The Bombers were surprised at Ménard-Brière’s decision, I’m told.
Ménard-Brière connected on all four of his field goal attempts during the preseason, including boots of 43 and 52 yards. He also punted 13 times for a net average of 35.1 yards, a number that was virtually identical to Medlock’s mark of 35.4 from last season.
Choosing Medlock over Ménard-Brière could be a costly decision for the Bombers. Medlock, 34, is ten years older than Ménard-Brière, an international, and significantly more expensive. Ménard-Brière could have handled all three kicking jobs for Winnipeg at a more affordable rate for the foreseeable future without using a coveted designated import spot.
Winnipeg drafted Ménard-Brière in the fourth round of last year’s CFL draft. He spent the first part of last season on the Bombers’ practice roster before reporting to the Carabins for his final season of USports eligibility.
Ménard-Brière has since joined the Redblacks’ practice roster, a team with whom he feels he is more likely to win the kicking contest.
The Bombers now have just two players remaining from last year’s draft class — McGill offensive lineman Qadr Spooner (15th overall) and Alberta receiver Tylor Henry (68th overall). The club also maintains the rights to Manitoba offensive lineman Geoff Gray.