Alouettes were in the mix for Riders DE Charleston Hughes

The Montreal Alouettes were involved in trade discussions with Calgary for defensive lineman Charleston Hughes before deciding to withdraw, per sources.

Hughes ultimately ended up in Saskatchewan and the Alouettes ultimately signed Canadian defensive end Jamaal Westerman in free agency – dolling out big dollars to do it – pairing him with John Bowman. The cap difference for Hughes compared to Westerman – Canadian passport factors into the equation in a large way – is between $70,000 to $80,000.

The Alouettes ranked last in the league with 25 sacks in 2017.

Westerman suffered a shoulder injury that ended his 2017 campaign prematurely. At the time he was tied for second in the CFL lead in sacks with seven in 11 games. He has played in 47 CFL games making 32 sacks and forcing four fumbles. The 32-year-old spent six seasons in the NFL making 60 tackles, six sacks and one forced fumble before coming north where he was a CFL all-star in 2015, Westerman’s first year in the three-down league.

Hughes, despite being 34 years old, was a CFL all-star recording 40 tackles, 11 sacks and one forced fumble in 14 games. That’s nearly half of Montreal’s entire season sack total. Hamilton acquired Hughes and a fourth-round, 34th overall pick in the 2018 CFL draft from the Stamps and the Ticats give up their fourth-round, 28th overall pick in the same draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2019 CFL pick-fest. After that deal was completed, Hamilton sent Hughes to Saskatchewan for quarterback Vernon Adams, a former Alouette.

Hughes played in 147 games for the Stampeders recording 372 tackles, 99 sacks, 23 forced fumbles, three interceptions and one defensive touchdown. The two-time Grey Cup champion had spent his entire career in Calgary until he was dealt to Hamilton. Hughes has led the CFL in sacks twice in his career, 2013 and 2016. He leaves Calgary tied for the franchise record in sacks at 99.

Five out of the last six seasons Hughes has notched double-digit sack totals. He’s been a league all-star four times. Hughes is under contract for the 2018 season after signing a two-year extension before the start of the 2017 campaign.

Hughes and John Bowman paired together could’ve been fun, but Westerman makes a great bookend.