Why the Alouettes released Muamba (and what happens now)

Montreal’s dire salary cap situation has forced them to release Canadian linebacker Henoc Muamba.

The soon-to-be 27-year-old was due a hefty salary advance (similar to an off-season roster bonus) of $60,000 at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 16. With the team already projected to be over the $5.1 million salary cap for next season and significant investments in linebackers Bear Woods, Chip Cox, Winston Venable and Kyries Hebert already on the books, general manager Jim Popp made the decision to part ways with Muamba. He was expected to make around $235,000 in 2016.

There were multiple teams reportedly interested in trading for Muamba but none were willing to pay the existing bonus. Popp could have paid the salary advance and looked to trade Muamba closer to the CFL draft, but elected not to do so. He played just four games with Montreal at end the 2015 season, registering 14 tackles and one interception.

Back in September, the St. Francis Xavier product was released by the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts at the end of training camp. Muamba then went on a North American tour, working out for the Giants and Packers down south before visiting with B.C., Edmonton, Hamilton and Montreal of the CFL.

Expect Muamba to follow a similar process this time around. He’ll likely work out for NFL teams and see if a deal comes. If no NFL deal is forthcoming, the 2011 No. 1 overall CFL Draft pick will then turn his attention to the three-down league.

The timing for Muamba is not ideal: many CFL teams have been active in the initial wave of free agency and any club looking to add Muamba would most likely have to free up some cap room by releasing players to make any deal work.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.