The expected happened for Jordan Williams-Lambert as the Saskatchewan Roughriders let him go to sign a deal with the Chicago Bears according to 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk.

Williams-Lambert had previously worked out for the Bears, Detroit Lions, New York Giants and New England Patriots in December.

The green and white had put Williams-Lambert on the deferred list, meaning that a deal in the NFL was imminent but wasn’t quite done just yet. The Riders officially have to start planning to live without the man who might have been their number one receiver in 2019.

Williams-Lambert was a rare bright spot for the team offensively in 2018. He picked up the team’s second most yards and tied for the most touchdowns with Naaman Roosevelt. Given his development throughout the year, Williams-Lambert becoming a go-to guy in 2019 wouldn’t have been a surprise.

Instead, it’s back to the drawing board for a team that needs to make big changes to their offence this year.

There’s no doubt that the Riders want nothing but the best for Williams-Lambert and hope he succeeds in the NFL. But, how all of this played out has to be difficult for them.

As the season ended, plans for the new season would have begun and those plans on offence probably included a bigger role for Williams-Lambert. Now, Saskatchewan, who had to deal with losing experienced talent last season, is losing a key piece of the puzzle after he filed a grievance and won the right to take his shot at the NFL. That probably wasn’t expected back in November.

The team probably had planned to lose Sam Eguavoen to the NFL. There’s probably a plan for life with or without Willie Jefferson. Losing a guy who you thought would be under contract still is entirely different.

It’s not all bleak, American receiver is one spot where CFL teams can generally find talent, the Riders do retain Williams-Lambert’s rights if the NFL doesn’t work out and there’s plenty of names that are set to become a free-agent in a couple of weeks.

Losing Williams-Lambert hurts the Riders, but it is one they can overcome.

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Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.