Did Both Teams Lose the Price/Simmons Trade?

In light of Maurice Price’s struggles and Jasper Simmons allowing his agent to take to Twitter and publicly blast the Stampeders organization, now is as good a time as any to look back at the trade that hasn’t really worked out for either side….yet.

Let’s quickly review the trade:

To the Redblacks: WR Maurice Price

To the Stampeders: WR Dan Buckner and LB Jasper Simmons

From Ottawa’s perspective:

Despite Price struggling to find a role in the Redblack’s offence, you cannot fault GM Marcel Desjardins’ thinking for pulling the trigger to make this deal. Ottawa led the league in drops last season and the receiving corp needed an overhaul. With free agent targets in mind, but no guarantee that he’d land any of them, trading for Price was a smart, pre-emptive strike.

When you factor in what exactly Desjardins had to give up to land the speedy receiver, the deal was a no brainer. Buckner was a rookie and at best a development player. Simmons, while being the Redblacks MOP (Most Outstanding Player) in 2014, was deemed expendable due to the additions of NFL cast-offs Malik Jackson and Damaso Munoz. Any time you trade from a position of strength (LB in this case for Ottawa), to address a position of need (WR), it can’t help but be a win.

FBO CFL Lions Redblacks

All that being said, since coming to the Redblacks, Price has struggled to build chemistry with QB Henry Burris and carve out a role in offensive co-ordinator Jason Maas’ system. During his time in Calgary, Price averaged 17.4 yards per catch and commonly stretched the field for huge gains, like last season’s 102 yard TD reception. So far this season, Price’s has struggled with drops and only averaged 7.3 yards per catch, with his longest being for a gain for 14 yards.

Perhaps even more worrying is that every other new receiver addition (Brad Sinopoli, Ernest Jackson, Greg Ellinson and Chris Williams) have all had a dominant, break out game, whereas Price’s best performance came in Week Two against the BC Lions when he hauled in 5 catches for 43 yards.

While it’s much too early to say Price has been a bust, he needs to figure out a way to get on the same page as Burris quickly, because while R-Nation has patience, sooner or later something’s gotta give.

Verdict: The jury is still out

From Calgary’s perspective:

Picking up another team’s MOP, even if it’s an MOP from a 2-16 team, is never a bad idea. While some might argue that losing Price left the Stamps a bit short on depth at the receiver position, the fact of the matter is that with his six figure contract, Price became expendable with the emergence of Joe West and Eric Rogers. Plus, the Stamps got an extended look at life without Price when he missed 6 games with a broken hand and was later a healthy scratch in the Western Final (though he did suit up for the Grey Cup).

With LBs Deron Mayo, Juwan Simpson and Keon Raymond already established starters and CFL all-stars, Jasper Simmons was always going to be a depth player unless injury freed up a spot. At the time, Simmons seemed excited to be in Calgary even going so far as to say;

“To go from a losing team to a winning team, and a winning team that wants you, is a great feeling. To be here, in a winning atmosphere, that’s what every player wants.

I’m here to do whatever and to help out in any area they need me. I pretty much feel I can play just about any position in the back end. I’m not coming in here to, you know, say I’m the best, or I’m this or I’m that. Not at all. 

I’m happy to come out here and compete with guys who I know have had great careers, to learn from the vets.”

Since coming to the Stamps, Simmons has been used sparing, registering only 4 tackles and often being a healthy scratch on the one game injured list. Though he seemed to be taking his new role in stride, on Saturday night, hours before the Stampeders took the Redblacks to the woodshed, Simmons’ agent lashed out on Twitter, claiming the Stamps were “Holding his client hostage” by refusing to play him.

Jon Cornish Jasper Simmons

This post isn’t going to delve into what exactly agent Sammy Gahagan said, since it’s already been well documented here on 3DownNation and in an interview he did with the Bleed Redblacks Podcast.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the outburst has seemingly worked, as Simmons has since been released and is currently a free agent. Despite the apparent “success” of his agent’s tactics, Simmons took a risky move because any team looking to sign him will now wonder how he’ll react if he doesn’t feel like he’s getting enough playing time.

With Simmons out of the picture and Buckner being cut in training camp, in essence the Stampeders traded away their second leading receiver from 2014 for nothing.

Verdict: It’s not often you can say Hufnagel got fleeced, but in this case, he did

Eight months later, what do you think of the Price/Simmons trade? Let me know by leaving a comment below!


Santino Filoso is originally from Ottawa and has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know).