Ticats trade Tim O’Neill to B.C. Lions (and why)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have traded veteran Canadian offensive lineman Tim O’Neill to the B.C. Lions in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2016 CFL draft.

O’Neill, 36, played four seasons in Hamilton, appearing in all 72 regular season games and was named the team’s top offensive lineman in 2012. He made seven starts at right guard last season.

The Ticats are expected to start three Canadian offensive linemen next season with veteran guards Ryan Bomben and Peter Dyakowski, as well as centre Mike Filer all under contract. The team also has youngsters Landon Rice (four starts, 25 games played over two seasons), Mathieu Girard and Everton Williams in development.

The move will also see the team net some salary cap savings.

A native of Victoria – he still spends his off-seasons on the island – O’Neill will be closer to home and will likely get a chance to compete for a starting job. The Lions are clearly looking to start more Canadians up front next season and announced on Tuesday that they have released American Jason Foster, who started 18 games at centre last season.

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