CFL free agency day two: Riders raid the cookie jar

The Saskatchewan Roughriders drastically upgraded their defence Wednesday after adding Canadian defensive end Justin Capicciotti, linebacker Greg Jones and defensive backs Ed Gainey and Otha Foster.

The Riders also signed running backs Kendial Lawrence and Curtis Steele.

Otha and Lawrence are the latest former Edmonton players to follow head coach/GM Chris Jones to Saskatchewan. On Tuesday, offensive lineman Andrew Jones signed with the Riders while Canadian receiver Shamawd Chambers — the top Canadian in last year’s Grey Cup game — agreed to terms before officially signing his deal Wednesday.

The six-foot-four, 212-pound Foster spent the last two seasons with Edmonton, starting all 33 regular-season games he appeared in. He recorded 103 tackles, seven special-teams tackles and two interceptions.

Capicciotti​, a Toronto native, spent the last two years in Ottawa and was a CFL all-star last season. The six-foot-three, 235-pound end registered 23 sacks while with the Redblacks and was a highly sought commodity in free agency.

The six-foot, 242-pound Jones spent the last two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts. Last year, the 27-year-old started all 18 regular-season games and registered a team-high 98 tackles.

Jones was also a member of the New York Giants when they captured the 2011 Super Bowl.

The five-foot-11, 195-pound Gainey spent the last two seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after beginning his CFL career in Montreal.

Gainey, 25, has played in 43 career games, having registered 69 tackles, 25 special-teams tackles, two interceptions and three fumble returns, including one that was returned for a touchdown.

The Roughriders also announced the signing of Canadian receiver Shamawd Chambers. The six-foot-three, 219-pound native of Markham, Ont., spent the last four seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos and was named the top Canadian in the club’s Grey Cup win last November against Ottawa.

Chambers has played in 50 career regular-season games, having recorded 112 receptions for 1,234 yards and seven TDs.

Lawrence, another former Eskimo, followed suit and signed with the Riders as a free agent. The five-foot-nine, 195-pound Lawrence spent the last two seasons in Edmonton after beginning his CFL career in Hamilton.

Steele joins the Riders after three seasons with Toronto. The 28-year-old ran for 820 yards on 138 carries (5.9-yard average) with seven TDs while adding 49 receptions for 383 yards and a touchdown.

Saskatchewan also released linebacker Jake Doughty and punter Ray Early, both Americans. Doughty had 30 tackles and three special-teams tackles in seven games last season, his first with the Riders, while Early boasted a 45-yard average in dressing for all of the club’s 18 regular-season games.

Lions sign running back Johnson, offensive lineman Adcock

The B.C. Lions agreed to terms with running back Jeremiah Johnson and signed offensive lineman Levy Adcock on Wednesday.

The five-foot-nine, 210-pound Johnson, a native of Los Angeles, spent last season with Ottawa after splitting the 2014 campaign between the Toronto Argonauts and Redblacks.

Johnson ran for 448 yards on 97 carries with nine touchdowns last year. He appeared in 20 regular-season games the past two seasons with Ottawa and Toronto, rushing for 796 yards on 156 carries with 12 TDs while adding 62 catches for 434 yards and two touchdowns.

“Jeremiah is an experienced running back who has spent time in both the NFL and CFL,” Lions head coach/GM Wally Buono said in a statement. “He has a lot of respect on our team among our defensive players and he brings a level of ability that gives you a very good starting point when you open up competition for the starting running back job.”

The six-foot-six, 324-pound Adcock spent the past two seasons with Saskatchewan, starting in 13 of the 15 regular-season appearances he made over that time. He played collegiately at Oklahoma State.

“Levy is a talented offensive lineman who brings size, experience and physicality to the line,” said Buono. “He’s played at a high level both in college and in the pros and he comes highly recommended by offensive line coach Dan Dorazio.”

Bombers add defensive tackle Cummings

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers announced they’ve signed American free-agent defensive tackle Euclid Cummings.

The six-foot-three, 285-pound Cummings had 27 tackles, eight sacks and one forced fumble in 15 games last season with the Toronto Argonauts.

Prior to joining the Argos in 2014, Cummings spent time with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers following his college career at Georgia Tech.

Stamps steal two from Ticats

The Calgary Stampeders dipped into free agency to sign receiver Bakari Grant and linebacker Taylor Reed.

Grant and Reed join the Stampeders after both spending time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Grant registered 242 career catches for 3,027 yards with 16 touchdowns with Hamilton. The six-foot-four, 195-pound receiver had 42 receptions for 507 yards and two TDs last season.

Esks bring back Sherritt

The Edmonton Eskimos re-signed veteran linebacker JC Sherritt.

Sherritt is under contract with Edmonton through the 2017 season. He became a free agent noon ET on Tuesday.

Sherritt, the CFL’s top defensive player in 2012, is entering his sixth season with Edmonton. Last year he had 71 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 13 special-teams tackles in 18 games, all starts.

He capped his 2015 season with four tackles in Edmonton’s Grey Cup win over Ottawa.

 

Alouettes sign NFL veteran Vaughn Martin 

The Montreal Alouettes bolstered their defensive line with the signing of Canadian defensive tackle Vaughn Martin to a two-year deal.

The six-foot-four, 300-pound Martin spent seven seasons in the NFL after being drafted in the fourth round, No. 113 overall, in 2009 by the San Diego Chargers. He spent four seasons in San Diego before joining the Miami Dolphins in 2013 and also spent time with the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs.

Martin, 29, appeared in 51 career NFL games, registering 79 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble. He played collegiately at the University of Western Ontario.

“This has been a long and calculated process to finally get Vaughn to Montreal,” Montreal head coach/GM Jim Popp said in a statement. “Talks have gone on over the last couple of years, up to Vaughn making a visit to Montreal and taking a medical.

“Vaughn has a chance to come in and offer us a force inside, partnered with Alan-Michael Cash, that could cause teams a lot of problems. We obviously are excited about the possibilities and welcome him to the Alouettes.”

Argos re-sign Whitaker, trade Campbell

The Toronto Argonauts re-signed free-agent running back Brandon Whitaker.

Whitaker joined the Argos on June 21, 2015 following six seasons with the Montreal Alouettes. The five-foot-10, 200-pound Whitaker was second in the East Division in rushing with 636 yards on 121 carries (5.3-yard average) and three TDs while adding 53 catches for 440 yards and three touchdowns.

“Brandon Whitaker is one of the best all-around running backs in our game,” Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich said in a statement. “He is an elusive runner with great hands in the passing game.

“We are thrilled to have him return to us.”

Whitaker, a two-time Grey Cup champion, has rushed for 4,009 career yards and 15 touchdowns while adding 247 catches for 2,099 yards and 16 TDs. He was a CFL all-star in 2011.

The Argos also dealt American offensive lineman Bruce Campbell to the Saskatchewan Roughriders for a 2016 fourth-round pick and rights to a negotiations list player. The six-foot-five, 317-pound Campbell started 15 regular-season games and the East Division semifinal last year with Toronto.

Redblacks sign Gascon-Nadon

The Ottawa Redblacks signed free-agent defensive lineman Arnaud Gascon-Nadon.

The six-foot-three, 250-pound defensive end spent three seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after being selected in the third round, 17th overall, in the 2012 CFL draft out of Laval. He registered nine tackles and a forced fumble.

Gascon-Nadon, a 27-year-old Montreal native, helped Laval win Vanier Cup titles in 2010 and ’12.

 

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