What the signing of Capicciotti and release of Davis means for the Ticats

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats locked up a key Canadian on Thursday while also parting ways with a veteran American defensive back.

Defensive end Justin Capicciotti has signed a two-year contract extension less than two weeks before he was set to become a free agent. The team also announced the release of former all-star halfback Emanuel Davis, who fell out of favour with the coaching staff last season.

Capicciotti made 16 starts at defensive end last season and registered seven quarterback sacks, good enough for second on the club, while also making 40 tackles. The 28-year-old was acquired by the Ticats from the Riders in October 2016, along with offensive lineman Xavier Fulton in exchange for defensive tackle Linden Gaydosh, wide receiver Tommy Streeter, and fourth and seventh-round picks in the 2017 CFL Draft. He’s played 93 career games and was a 2015 East All-Star with Ottawa.

With Canadian defensive tackle Ted Laurent set to become a free agent, re-signing Capicciotti gives them a legitimate starter at a position where they are building national depth: rookie Connor McGough, a first-round draft pick in 2017, had an excellent first-year campaign.

The release of Davis comes after a down season for the two-time all-star. After re-signing with the club in the early days of free agency last February, Davis missed the first seven games with a hamstring injury suffered early in training camp, played in six games, then was a healthy scratch in the last fives games of the season after defensive coordinator Phillip Lolley replaced him in the starting lineup.

Davis, 28, has played five seasons, all with Hamilton and has 10 career interceptions. He will undoubtedly get a look with another CFL team.