Jerome Messam likely won’t be back in Calgary, could land with Riders

Jerome Messam’s four-yard carry in the fourth quarter of Calgary’s Grey Cup loss might have been his last in a Stampeders uniform.

The bruising Canadian running back has been told by the Stampeders he won’t – barring an unforeseen change – be back in Cowtown. But a landing spot could be open one province east: Saskatchewan. Expect the 32-year-old to hit the market when free agency opens on Feb. 13.

The Riders let national runner Kienan LaFrance go on Jan. 31 because he was due a $20,000 off-season bonus the following day. That opened up more than $110,000 of cap space for the green and white, which could be enough to land Messam.

Riders head coach and general manager Chris Jones has an affinity for Messam, raving about him in defensive film sessions. Messam rushed for 305 yards in three meeting against Saskatchewan in 2017, two times going over 100 yards in a game which were both Stamps victories.

Messam spent parts of two seasons in Riderville where he reasserted himself. The six-foot-three, 255-pound back rushed for 826 yards and two touchdowns while hauling in 47 passes for 464 yards, 1,290 yards from scrimmage in 15 games. At the 2015 trade deadline, then-interim general manager Jeremy O’Day sent Messam to Calgary for Canuck kicker Tyler Crapigna. That off-season the Stamps re-signed him for two years, that deal expires on February 13.

The Brampton bus was a stalwart for Calgary rushing for 2,394 yards and 20 touchdowns adding 701 yards on 93 catches and another major in 37 regular season games. Messam had a career-best campaign in 2016 when he rushed for 1,198 yards and 11 touchdowns while catching 54 balls for 485 yards and one TD, all of those numbers are single-season highs. That year he earned the Most Oustanding Canadian award.

When Messam missed his one and only game in 2017, rookie Terry Williams started and rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns leading Calgary to a 59-11 victory over Montreal in Week 15. Williams has the inside track to be the Stampeders No. 1 running back as Calgary makes a passport change at the position. In combination with that move, after the retirement of Josh Bell, Tunde Adeleke could be the first-team safety to balance out the ratio.