After the Ticats released a slew of players earlier in the week, including a couple fan favourites, many fans hoped the bloodletting was to free up money to sign some reinforcements.
On Wednesday they did just that when the team inked former Toronto Argonaut defensive tackle Dylan Wynn to a contract.
No, it’s not the player many fans hoped would sign in Steeltown, but the Ticats faithful should still be excited about Wynn relocating down the QEW.
After releasing Nikita Whitlock and announcing the retirement of Bobby Richardson, the Ticats had zero American defensive tackles on their roster. The addition of Wynn not only fills that spot, but does so with a player who is an upgrade over the two who are no longer here. While Whitlock carved out a nice role for himself during two seasons in the Hammer, Wynn is the more accomplished player, even if his numbers don’t jump off the stat sheet. In two seasons with the Argos, Wynn played in 26 games, recording 64 defensive tackles, eight sacks, and was a ket contributor to the Argos’ Grey Cup-winning squad of 2017.
Wynn entered free agency in February with a number of potential suitors, but opted to sign with the Arizona Hotshots of the AAF, likely with an eye on getting to the NFL. When the AAF folded, and no NFL deals materialized, Wynn decided coming back north was the best bet.
The Ticats have had a number of very good defensive tackles play beside Ted Laurent, from Bryan Hall to Drake Nevis to Jason Neill to Whitlock, but the signing of Wynn is the first time in a long time that the Ticats looked outside their own scouting to fill that void. That should tell you a lot about how the team views Wynn.
Hamilton hasn’t made a ton of changes over the off-season, but one place they have is along the defensive line. After finishing the 2018 season with the league’s second-lowest sack total, changes to the front four were needed. Laurent returns because he’s in the conversation for the league’s best interior lineman, as does fellow Canadian Jamaal Westerman, who’s season was cut short last year after the team acquired him in the Johnny Manziel trade. Westerman wasn’t the same player we saw in Winnipeg, but giving him a full training camp with the team should see him get somewhere close to that level in 2019.
The biggest change made up front was the acquisition of Ja’Gared Davis via free agency. Signing Davis away from the Calgary Stampeders was a major coup and upgraded the front four tremendously. Now the team adds Wynn to those three all-star-calibre players and suddenly Hamilton’s defensive line goes from a middling outfit to perhaps one of the league’s most feared units.
Wynn’s signing might not break the internet like if a certain former B.C. Lion announced he was coming to Hamilton, but it is one of those signings that could prove to be much bigger than many realize.