Solomon Elimimian has likely played his last down for the B.C. Lions.
After a February spending spree that saw the Lions completely revamp their roster it was inevitable that other changes were also coming. While making Mike Reilly the highest-paid player in the league made the biggest headlines, the Lions also spent money to bring in a slew of talented players. Duron Carter, Aaron Grymes, Sukh Chung and Lemar Durant come to mind, as well as keeping guys like Bryan Burnham, Shaq Johnson and Garry Peters.
Paying those guys meant cuts had to come from somewhere, and it now looks like one of those cuts is going to be Elimimian.
It marks the end of an era in B.C., where Elimimian has been one of their best players for the better part of a decade, where he was twice named the league’s best defensive player (2014, 2016) and in 2014 became the first strictly defensive player to be named league MOP. It was a heck of a run that also saw Elimimian lift the Grey Cup in Vancouver in 2011.
There are eight potential landing spots for Elimimian, some more likely than others, so let’s rank them from least likely to most likely and see where No. 56 might be suiting up next season.
The future Empire just spent $210,000 luring Larry Dean away from the Ticats. Next.
Never count out Kavis Reed doing something that will make you scratch your head, but with Henoc Muamba in the fold, there doesn’t seem to be a fit for Elimimian.
Seeing Elimimian and Adam Bighill team up again would be fun, but after giving the reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player a lucrative three-year extension this winter, I don’t think the Bombers have the room to make it work financially.
With Bear Woods still around, the Argos don’t seem like a logical landing spot for Elimimian, but GM Jim Popp has done crazier things, so don’t count it out. As unlikely as it is, I would not be shocked if this ended with Elimimian in double blue even if I don’t see them as a front runner for his services.
The Redblacks would be higher on the list because they could use a solid, veteran linebacker to anchor their defence, but they have spent this off-season getting younger and not handing out big deals to players who are 30-plus years old. Elimimian will turns 33 during the upcoming season, and while the Redblacks likely have the cash to make a play for him, I don’t know if they will.
Despite bringing in Justin Tuggle and Terrence Plummer, and being high on both Chris Frey and Lucas Wacha, the Ticats still have a question mark at middle linebacker after Larry Dean left for Edmonton. Elimimian would be intimately familiar with the system the Ticats expect to run in 2019, given that his defensive coordinator for the last five years, Mark Washington, now holds that title with the Ticats. The Tabbies make sense for a number of reasons, but after spending money to retain many of their top stars, as well as bringing in some outside reinforcements, one has to wonder if they have the funds needed to bring Elimimian in.
When it comes to any big-name player becoming available, the Riders will always be near the top of any list. The Riders have in-house options for their MIKE spot, but no one as good as Elimimian. The Riders made a major splash bringing in a veteran last off-season by trading for Charleston Hughes. They could do the same this year by bringing Elimimian into the fold.
The Stamps lost Alex Singleton to the NFL and have a huge hole to fill in the middle of their defence. Enter Elimimian. While it goes against what the Stamps normally do, they could make an exception for the future Hall of Famer. Despite their reluctance to pay top dollar for players, a Stamps-Elimimian union makes the most sense for both parties.