The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have released Canadian offensive lineman Braden Schram, a former 2017 second round pick. And while it’s always somewhat unusual for a club to release a relatively high pick so early in the development cycle, the Ticats find themselves in an enviable situation when it comes to national depth up front.
The team is currently starting three Canadian offensive lineman – guard Brandon Revenberg, centre Mike Filer and 2018 first rounder Darius Ciraco. That Ciraco has already passed Schram on the depth chart is the first indication that his development wasn’t going as well as the team had hoped.
But others had moved passed Schram as well. A look at the roster from last week’s win over Edmonton indicates that there are four other linemen ahead of Schram: Landon Rice, Everton Williams, Kay Okafor and Brett Golding. Mathieu Girard, who re-signed this spring after a year-long retirement, is also coming along and will soon be in game shape (and size.)
Schram was also a second-round pick, which means his salary would have been higher than the CFL minimum (likely in the $70,000 range.) By releasing him, the Ticats will get at least some savings (he was on the one-game injured list which still counts against the cap.)
While it’s always tough to determine a team’s true cap situation, it’s fair to assume that the Ticats don’t have a ton of wiggle room right now. The addition of Delvin Breaux, who is the highest paid American defensive back in the CFL, would have further squeezed the club after they re-signed a number of major contributors in the off-season. The team has rid themselves of mid-level contracts belonging to defensive back Demond Washington and quarterback Vernon Adams and their one-game injured list – which teams often use to hang on to assets in the short term – is sparsely populated at the moment.
Williams, Okafor and Golding are all cheaper and, it would appear, further ahead in their development. That combination made Schram, for lack of a better term, expendable.
Which isn’t to say he won’t get another opportunity (he will) or blossom into a good CFL player (he might.) He’s got size (6-foot-4, 312 pounds), still just 25 and came out of the offensive line factory that is the University of Calgary. There are plenty of other teams around the CFL who don’t have the Ticats depth when it comes to Canadian offensive lineman and word is there are several clubs interested in his services already.
Cutting a second-round pick just a year-and-a-bit after drafting him isn’t ideal but moving on quickly from players who no longer fit into your plans certainly is and that’s what the Ticats are doing here.