Nine thoughts on nine teams after cut down deadline day provided lots of interesting moves.
B.C. Lions: Word from the Left Coast is that the Lions are upset with Saskatchewan for grabbing two Canadians B.C. wanted to put on the practice roster. One source said Wally Buono was so angry that he could’ve thrown the players in the Fraser River and let them float to Regina.
Edmonton Eskimos: It was surprising to see national defensive back Cauchy Muamba let go by Edmonton. He started at safety for the Esks in their 2015 Grey Cup victory and provided steady play on the back end all last season, but a heel injury caused Muamba to miss almost all of training camp. There are already suitors for the proven starting calibre Canuck.
Calgary Stampeders: The latest example of a star NCAA player coming north and not living up to the hype is Lache Seastrunk, who was released by the Stamps. He struggled with ball security and catching the football in training camp and pre-season. Seastrunk rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2012 and 2013 at Baylor while being named first-team All-Big 12 in his senior year.
Saskatchewan Roughriders: Seeing quarterback Brett Smith and veteran receiver Clarence Denmark cut by the Riders raised some eyebrows, but the team feels younger players outplayed them during camp. It was clear after strong comments from Stephen McAdoo about the 24-year-old pivot that if he didn’t stay in the pocket and progress through reads that he would be gone.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Some people were surprised to see Matt Bucknor get cut, but the Bombers have gotten to the point where their Canadian depth is strong enough that decisions based on talent and ratio iterations are now trumping pure need. That’s one major positive Winnipeg has certainly accomplished since Joe Mack left – upgrading nationals in a large way.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats: Montreal’s cap problems allowed the Ticats to land an upgrade for their secondary in Dominique Ellis. The 26-year-old, who received a $10,000 signing bonus from Montreal, is young and showed intriguing potential during two seasons with the Alouettes.
Toronto Argonauts: Despite a strong camp, running back Edwin Baker, who has NFL experience, didn’t do quite enough to make the roster. Brandon Whitaker and Henry Josey will get the majority of carries for the Argos to begin the season. And Chad Kackert isn’t quite done yet as Toronto added him to their practice squad.
Ottawa Redblacks: With William Powell’s season-ending Achilles injury, Travis Greene making the team and being the only other international running back on the roster other than Travon Vann is notable. The Bowling Green product rolled up 125 yards on 20 pre-season carries – 6.25-yards per carry average.
Montreal Alouettes: After garnering NFL interest in the off-season, cover man Mitchell White eventually re-signed with Montreal. He took first-team reps at boundary corner all training camp long with the Alouettes, but the team’s salary crunch led to his release. White got a $25,000 signing bonus and now he’ll look for work elsewhere. Expect the Michigan State alum to be coveted by other teams.