The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are trying to take their defence to the next level.

Strong-side linebacker and defensive back Patrick Levels has agreed to terms with the Ticats on a one-year contract for the 2020 season, per sources.

Levels was viewed by personnel men around the CFL as the most athletic backend player in the 2020 free agent class. The East Division all-star burst onto the scene last season in Montreal with 86 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles.

Levels has outstanding measurables: 4.45 40-yard speed, 39-inch vertical and 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. He’s more than fast enough to run with receivers, plays with explosive ball skills and is strong against the run. It’s surprising the Alouettes allowed Levels to hit the open market, but the salary cap issues former GM Kavis Reed created made it difficult to keep him.

The 25-year-old Levels joined the Als in 2019. Before joining Montreal, Levels spent two seasons with the Calgary Stampeders where he appeared in 25 games registering 36 tackles, 14 special teams takedowns and one interception.

The Dallas born defender played for his home state Baylor University Bears for four seasons between 2013-2016 where he recorded 89 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, six-and-a-half sacks, five fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and and two passes defended. After going unselected in the 2017 NFL draft, attended rookie mini-camp with the Indianapolis Colts, however he was not offered a contract.

Levels brings outstanding tools and versatility to the Hammer.

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Justin Dunk is a CFL insider, sports reporter and news anchor.