2017 first overall CFL Draft pick, defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie has been released after one season.
The 25-year-old played in 14 games making five tackles during his rookie year, although he was expected to compete for a starting defensive tackle position. Four first round picks from 2017 suited up in more games than Ekakitie as rookies: Riders linebacker Cameron Judge (3), Lions receiver Danny Vandervoort (18), Ticats defensive lineman Connor McGough (18), Eskimos receiver Nate Behar (12), Stampeders defensive lineman Randy Colling (2), Lions defensive lineman Junior Luke (18) and Redblacks offensive lineman Evan Johnson (18).
The Bombers wanted to see Ekakitie show up at training camp in better shape, but it didn’t happen and that was the start of the end.
Ekakitie made $88,000 in “guaranteed money” last season plus some playtime cash. He was paid a $13,000 roster bonus in February and $10,000 more for passing his physical and reporting to training camp for a total of $23,000. But Winnipeg saves $62,000 in base salary and $12,000 housing in 2018.
Winnipeg used the No. 1 overall selection acquired in the Drew Willy trade with Toronto to choose Ekakitie. Some might have seen that as a bonus asset. But either way you slice it the choice did not work out. At least the Bombers have admitted the mistake, cut their losses and moved on.