The Ottawa Redblacks have released Canadian offensive lineman Philippe Gagnon.
Gagnon signed in the nation’s capital last February during free agency. The 27-year-old was scheduled to earn $180,000 in hard money for the 2020 season. In 2019, Gagnon played in nine games for Ottawa.
The Montreal Alouettes selected Gagnon second overall in the 2016 CFL draft. The six-foot-four, 311 pounder started all 18 games in his rookie year. Overall, Gagnon has suited up for 45 career games in the CFL.
Gagnon played four seasons for Laval University, helping the Rouge et Or win back-to-back Vanier Cups in 2012 and 2013. He was selected a Quebec first team all-star and a U Sports second team All-Canadian in 2014 and 2015.
Letting Gagnon go wasn’t about his playing ability, instead it was a needed salary cap move. General manager Marcel Desjardins brought in quarterback Nick Arbuckle, defensive tackle Cleyon Laing and linebacker Don Unamba while re-signing a number of key players the Redblacks wanted to keep on the roster.
That group includes Canadian offensive linemen Nolan McMillan, Alex Mateas, receiver Brad Sinopoli, pass catcher R.J. Harris, defensive end Avery Ellis, linebacker Avery Williams, kicker Lewis Ward and punter Richie Leone.
It didn’t make financial sense to keep Gagnon.