Alouettes sign Canadian linebacker Henoc Muamba

The Montreal Alouettes have signed ratio-breaking Canadian linebacker Henoc Muamba to a three-year contract.

Muamba visited Montreal in late March as a free agent.

This is Muamba’s second stint with the Alouettes. After returning north of the border from the NFL in 2015, Muamba signed a lucrative two-year deal with Montreal where he played four games in 2016. Then-general manager Jim Popp shopped Muamba prior to a $55,000 bonus that was due on Feb. 16, 2016 before releasing him that winter.

Saskatchewan, one of the teams that considered trading for Muamba, signed him six months later following a stint with the Dallas Cowboys. Following two seasons in Saskatchewan, the Riders put Muamba on the trade block in mid-February but he became a free agent after the Riders released him before an off-season payment that was due on Feb. 15.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were one of several teams interested in Muamba but general manager Kyle Walters said in March he did not expect to get a deal done after the slow pace of negotiations – a hallmark of Muamba’s agent Jonathon Hardaway – and the steep asking price led him to believe that the 29-year-old would take his talents elsewhere.

“We presented an offer prior to Henoc coming out. We were prepared to make Henoc the second highest paid Canadian on our team and what we deemed as fair,” Walters said. “We were certainly not prepared to offer Henoc Muamba a contract higher than Andrew Harris (set to make just under $200,000 for 2018), which is what they were asking for and it was not going to happen from our end for a multitude of reasons. We’ve been told that the offer that we put together was not going to get the job done. So Henoc won’t be coming here based on the communication that I’ve had.”

The move makes sense for Montreal given their relative lack of quality Canadian talent. But after already investing heavily in several free agents this off-season, the big question will be just how much it cost general manager Kavis Reed to land him.

Last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders Muamba had his best year since the CFL all-star campaign he put together in 2013. He played in 17 games making 82 tackles, three forced fumbles and two interceptions to earn the Riders Most Outstanding Canadian award.

Overall Muamba has played in 73 career games since Winnipeg selected him No. 1 overall in the 2011 CFL Draft. He has recorded 267 tackles, 74 special teams tackles, 11 forced fumbles, six sacks, four interceptions and one touchdown.