The Bombers have made the first big splash on CFL cut down day, releasing veteran receiver Kenny Stafford.
Football is a game of ups and downs just got released thank you Winnipeg for the love and support
— . (@Kstaff07) June 17, 2017
Stafford signed a two-year contract with the Bombers back in January worth approximately $120,000 per season. The deal reunited Stafford with Matt Nichols, the quarterback with whom he enjoyed the best season of his career in Edmonton two years ago.
The move means the Bombers’ starting American receivers are likely to be Darvin Adams, Weston Dressler, Clarence Denmark, and Ryan Lankford. Lankford, who enjoyed a solid preseason as both a receiver and return man, gives the Bombers some flexibility on special teams. Kevin Fogg is expected to be the club’s primary punt returner, but likely won’t start at defensive back. Lankford gives the Bombers a nice secondary return option while also filling a starting spot in the receiving corps.
Lankford will be under pressure to produce early with Gerrard Sheppard and T.J. Thorpe likely to wind up on injured reserve. Sheppard, who recorded 13 receptions with Winnipeg last year, and Thorpe, the much-lauded rookie who Paul LaPolice compared to Arland Bruce III, will both have their sights on starting once they return to health.
The Bombers have 70 players remaining on the roster after Stafford’s release, meaning they’ll need to release approximately ten more. Addison Richards, Matt Coates, Thorpe, and Sheppard are all candidates to start the season on injured reserve, meaning they will not count against the club’s 46-man active roster or ten-man practice roster.
Rookie defensive back Robert Porter announced on Twitter today that he’s made the club.
Check back for further analysis when the rest of the Bombers’ cuts are announced.