A comprehensive guide to Canadians and former CFLers in NFL training camps

With NFL cut-down dates fast approaching (teams must go from 90 to 75 players by August 30 before a final trim to 53 by September 3), it’s time to review a list of players with CFL ties currently on rosters down south. This list includes CFL draft picks, former CFL stars, league journeymen, and NFL veterans.

Any number of the following players could be released over the course of the next two weeks and while the rights to some are owned by specific CFL clubs by way of the draft, most would be considered free agents north of the border. Considering the amount of talent listed below, this is something that should excite CFL scouting departments, general managers, and fans alike.

DL Mehdi Abdesmad – Tennessee Titans (N)*

CFL rights holder: Ottawa Redblacks

Abdesmad was signed as a priority free agent by the Titans after going undrafted in the NFL draft this past April. He was a third round selection of the Redblacks in May and projects as a CFL defensive tackle.

DB Marcus Ball – Carolina Panthers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Ball parlayed two strong seasons with the Argos into a contract with the New Orleans Saints in 2014. After almost returning to the CFL last May, Ball joined the Panthers where he has spent time on both the active and practice rosters.

DL Freddie Bishop III – New York Jets (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Bishop recorded eleven sacks in sixteen games at defensive end for the Stampeders a season ago, his third year with the team. Bishop now hopes to make the Jets’ roster as a pass-rushing outside linebacker.

DB Elie Bouka – Arizona Cardinals (N)

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Bouka joined the Cardinals this past April after going undrafted south of the border. The former Calgary Dino was drafted by Saskatchewan in the third round of May’s CFL draft.

OL Brett Boyko – San Diego Chargers (N)

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

Boyko joined the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent in May of 2015, spending the entire season on the club’s practice roster. The 2015 CFL draft second rounder was later signed by the Chargers after being cut by the Eagles this past May.

ticat opening day breaux.JPG

DB Delvin Breaux – New Orleans Saints (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Breaux signed with the Saints in January of 2015 after two dominant seasons with the Tiger-Cats. After firmly entrenching himself as a starter in New Orleans’ defence last season, it is highly unlikely Breaux will make a return to the CFL in the future.

DB Brandon Browner – Seattle Seahawks (I)

CFL rights holder: None

A three-time CFL all-star with the Stampeders (2008-2010), Browner has had an erratic NFL career over the past five seasons, including a Pro Bowl selection, two Super Bowl championships, two drug-related suspensions, and a miserable 2015 season in New Orleans. Browner looks to reignite his career with Seattle in 2016, the team he originally joined after his stint in Calgary.

DL Stefan Charles – Detroit Lions (N)

CFL rights holder: Edmonton Eskimos

Charles signed with the Titans just days after being selected tenth overall in the 2013 CFL draft by the Eskimos. Later claimed off Tennessee’s practice roster by Buffalo, Charles signed a one-year contract with Detroit this past March after three seasons with the Bills.

WR Dobson Collins – Baltimore Ravens (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Collins made five stops in the CFL from 2011-2015 (B.C., Edmonton, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal), recording just 76 receptions for 930 yards in limited playing time. At 29, Collins’ opportunity in Baltimore will likely be his last on either side of the border.

DB Arjen Colquhoun – Dallas Cowboys (N)

CFL rights holder: Edmonton Eskimos

Colquhoun signed with Dallas as a priority free agent after going unselected in the 2016 NFL draft. The Michigan State product — universally considered the top Canadian defensive back prospect this year — was selected by Edmonton in the second round of May’s CFL draft.

christiancovington

DL Christian Covington – Houston Texans (N)

CFL rights holder: B.C. Lions

Covington rewarded the Texans for drafting him in the sixth round of last year’s NFL draft by recording two sacks in his rookie campaign. Covington, a fifth round selection of B.C.’s a year ago, looks to take on a larger role in Houston’s defence this season. Covington projects as a career NFL player.

DL Tyrone Crawford – Dallas Cowboys (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Crawford was selected by Dallas in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft and has since signed a five-year, $45-million contract extension. For this reason, it is safe to assume the Boise State product will never sign a CFL contract.

OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif – Kansas City Chiefs (N)

CFL rights holder: Calgary Stampeders

Duvernay-Tardif blossomed into a consistent starter in his second season with the Chiefs last year. Though it appears unlikely that he will ever come north, Duvernay-Tardif was drafted by the Stamps in the third round of the 2014 CFL draft.

OL David Foucault – Carolina Panthers (N)

CFL rights holder: Montreal Alouettes

Foucault has spent the past two seasons between Carolina’s active and practice rosters after joining them as an undrafted free agent in 2014. A monstrous prospect at 6’8, 305 pounds, Foucault was the fifth overall selection in the 2014 CFL draft.

OL Orlando Franklin – San Diego Chargers (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Franklin was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft and spent four seasons with the club before signing a five-year, $36.5-million free agent contract with the Chargers. Franklin, raised in Toronto, is not currently on a CFL negotiation list.

LB Jerrell Freeman – Chicago Bears (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Freeman signed with the Colts in 2012 after a superb 2011 season with Saskatchewan. After four seasons in Indianapolis, Freeman is now a member of the Bears after signing a three-year, $12-million contract with Chicago this past March.

aaron_grymes-940x400

DB Aaron Grymes – Philadelphia Eagles (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Grymes signed with the Eagles this past February after a stellar 2015 campaign in Edmonton. The 2015 CFL all-star has impressed in Eagles training camp, recording an interception in the club’s recent 17-0 preseason victory over Pittsburgh.

DB Erik Harris – New Orleans Saints (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Harris was a versatile weapon for the Ticats’ defence from 2013-2015, seeing playing time at strong-side linebacker, halfback, cornerback, and safety. Harris is beginning his NFL career with the Saints this season at free safety.

WR Andrew Hawkins – Cleveland Browns (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Hawkins has recorded 2,096 receiving yards between Cleveland and Cincinnati since his two-year stint with Montreal ended in 2010. The diminutive receiver is now in the third year of a four-year, $13.6 million deal with the Browns.

WR Dontrelle Inman – San Diego Chargers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Inman shone in his two-year stint with Toronto (2012-2013), recording 100 receptions for 1,542 yards and eleven touchdowns in 28 games. Now entering his third season with San Diego, Inman looks to maintain the starting role he earned a year ago with an impressive output of 35 receptions, 486 yards and three touchdowns in seven starts.

OL Brett Jones – New York Giants (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The 2014 CFL Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman spent last season on New York’s injured reserve. Currently listed as the Giants’ third-team left guard, Jones may have a tough time sticking around with the G-Men in 2016.

WR T.J. Jones – Detroit Lions (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Jones, a native of Winnipeg, has never filed for eligibility in the CFL draft and is not currently on a CFL negotiation list. Barring a drastic turn of events, there is no reason to believe that Jones will ever sign a CFL contract.

OL Colin Kelly – San Fransisco 49ers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Kelly joined the 49ers in January after two strong seasons in Ottawa. With a hefty signing bonus of $65,000 included in his contract with San Francisco, it’s clear the 49ers feel strongly about Kelly’s potential.

LS L.P. Ladoceur – Dallas Cowboys (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Ladoceur, 35, has been the Cowboys’ long snapper for the past eleven years. It’s highly unlikely that the former Ottawa Renegade first round draft pick would ever consider playing in the CFL.

cleyon-laing

DL Cleyon Laing – Miami Dolphins (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Laing enjoyed a breakout season in 2015, recording eight sacks in his fourth season with the Argos. The former CFL second round pick is playing defensive end in Miami, one spot over from the defensive tackle position he played in Toronto.

WR Chris Matthews – Baltimore Ravens (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Matthews has 151 receiving yards over two seasons with Seattle (2014-2015) and Baltimore (2015) since his time with the Blue Bombers (2012-2013). Matthews is expected to take on a larger role in Marc Trestman’s offence this season in Baltimore.

DB Dexter McCoil – San Diego Chargers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

McCoil was a key piece of the Eskimos’ dominant defence a season ago, enhancing Chris Jones’ unit with his impressive size, speed, and versatility. McCoil is currently listed as the Chargers’ third-team free safety.

LB Henoc Muamba – Dallas Cowboys (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Muamba signed with the Cowboys in late July, making him one of the latest additions to any training camp around the NFL. Less than a year removed from signing a two-year deal with Montreal, Muamba (27) will be looking to make the most of what could be his final NFL opportunity.

LB Andy Mulumba – Kansas City Chiefs (N)

CFL rights holder: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The second overall pick of the 2013 CFL draft spent the past three seasons with Green Bay before signing with Kansas City this past April. Mulumba will look to recreate the success of his first NFL season in which he recorded 33 tackles and a sack before tearing his ACL the following year.

LB Tristan Okpalaugo – Arizona Cardinals (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Okpalaugo recorded an impressive 23 sacks in 36 games at defensive end over the past two seasons in Toronto. The pass-rushing specialist will look to continue putting pressure on opposing pivots from the outside linebacker position in Arizona.

OL Michael Ola – Detroit Lions (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Ola has spent time with Miami, Chicago, and San Diego since his two CFL seasons in Montreal (2012-2013). Now in Detroit, Ola looks to make the most of his opportunity at right tackle with the Lions.

onyemata2

DL David Onyemata – New Orleans Saints (I)

CFL rights holder: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Onyemata rocketed up NFL draft boards after a phenomenal pro day at the University of Manitoba this past March. Selected by the Saints in the fourth round of April’s NFL draft, Onyemata has impressed throughout training camp and should be a shoe-in to crack New Orleans’ 53-man roster this season.

OL Austin Pasztor – Cleveland Browns (N)

CFL rights holder: Edmonton Eskimos

Pasztor, a native of Langton, Ontario, was selected fourth overall by the Eskimos in the 2012 CFL draft. The Virginia product has since started 22 NFL games and is currently listed as the Browns’ starting right tackle.

LB Brian Peters – Houston Texans (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Peters joined the Minnesota Vikings’ practice roster in 2015 after two strong seasons with the Roughriders. Later signed by Houston, Peters went on to record a league-leading 17 special teams tackles in just twelve games with the Texans.

P Jon Ryan – Seattle Seahawks (N)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Blue Bomber is heading into his ninth season with the Seahawks. Now 34, it is highly unlikely the Regina product will ever make a return to the CFL.

WR Eric Rogers – San Fransisco 49ers (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Rogers turned a dominant 2015 season with the Stamps into a contract with the 49ers that included a $125,000 signing bonus — a massive sum for an NFL rookie free agent. Disaster struck earlier this month, however, when it was announced that Rogers had torn his ACL in practice. Look for the California native to rebound in a big way with the 49ers in 2017.

RB Lache Seastrunk – New York Jets (I)

CFL rights holder: None

The former Baylor standout joined the Jets as a late training camp addition after brief stints with Calgary and Saskatchewan earlier this year. Seastrunk possesses elite athleticism, but ball security has often been cited as a weakness in his game.

WR Rashaun Simonise – Cincinnati Bengals (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Simonise signed with the Bengals as a free agent after going unselected in the 2016 NFL supplemental draft last month. The 6’5 Vancouver native is expected to be available in the 2017 CFL draft.

Sinkfield Jr., Smith

WR Terrell Sinkfield – Minnesota Vikings (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Sinkfield exploded for 1,030 receiving yards and six touchdowns with Hamilton in 2015 after a mediocre rookie campaign that included his release from the Argos. Sinkfield may be in tough to find work in a loaded Vikings receiving corps that includes a star in Cordarrelle Patterson and impressive youngsters in Laquon Treadwell and Stefon Diggs.

WR Tevaun Smith – Indianapolis Colts (N)

CFL rights holder: Edmonton Eskimos

Signed by Indianapolis as a priority free agent on May 1, Smith was a surprisingly high pick in this year’s CFL draft, going eighth overall to Edmonton. The Iowa product has the size (6’0) and speed (4.41 40-yard dash) to be successful on either side of the border.

WR Troy Stoudermire – Minnesota Vikings (I)

CFL rights holder: None

Stoudermire joined the Vikings just two weeks after being released by Winnipeg following a disappointing 2015 campaign. Stoudermire, a former star of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, returns to his college state to try to rekindle his career.

DL Brent Urban – Baltimore Ravens (N)

CFL rights holder: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Drafted in the second round of the 2013 CFL draft and the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft, Urban has only recently hit the field after a slew of injuries delayed his pro debut. Urban made international headlines when he blocked a kick in his first regular season game with the Ravens on November 30 of last year to seal a victory over Cleveland.

OL John Urschel – Baltimore Ravens (N)

CFL rights holder: None

Urschel, a native of Winnipeg, is slated to start at left guard for the Ravens after two impressive seasons as a depth player at both centre and guard. Urschel never filed for the CFL draft and is expected to pursue his impressive math career when his NFL career comes to an end.

TE Luke Willson – Seattle Seahawks (N)

CFL rights holder: Toronto Argonauts

Willson has ties to two Toronto teams (Willson, an Ontario native, was drafted by the Argos in the fifth round of the 2012 CFL draft just one year after signing a contract with the Blue Jays’ organization), but wound up playing football in Seattle. Now entering his fourth year with the Seahawks, it is unlikely that Willson will ever come north.

*’N’ denotes national, ‘I’ denotes international

Must Read