The Blue Bombers should trade for Elks’ kicker Sean Whyte

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The Winnipeg Blue Bombers should trade for Edmonton Elks’ placekicker Sean Whyte.

I know what you’re thinking: aren’t you the same guy who said Winnipeg should trade for Lewis Ward two weeks ago? The answer is yes. And if you’re wondering, yes: I’m going to write the same column about every good kicker who plays for a bad team.

Whyte has proven over the past decade that he’s extremely reliable placekicker. He’s connected on 373-of-431 (86.5 percent) of his career attempts with a long of 55 yards. The 35-year-old still has plenty of strength in his leg and could help the Blue Bombers down the stretch.

Edmonton (2-6) will not make the playoffs this season. They are four points behind the Calgary Stampeders (4-5) and B.C. Lions (4-4) for third place in the West Division standings and have the hardest remaining schedule of any team in the league, including a seven-day stretch in which they’ll play three games. Yikes.

There’s no reason for the Elks to keep Whyte, who is a pending free agent. The club has rookie kicker Dante Brown on the practice roster after selecting him in the fifth round of the 2020 CFL Draft. He had a prolific college career and remains just 24 years old. Why not give him a chance to close out the season and win the job for 2022?

The Blue Bombers have connected on a league-worst 52.2 percent of their field goal attempts this year. The club’s poor kicking has yet to cost them a game this season, but it’s a risk that Winnipeg can’t afford to take moving forward.

The offence has played well all season and the defence is dominant. The kicking game needs to keep pace, not languish in misery.

Head coach Mike O’Shea remains committed to rookie Ali Mourtada, which is admirable in a way. The first-year kicker has made just four-of-ten field goal attempts since joining Winnipeg a month ago and has yet to connect on a kick over 29 yards in length.

The club is impressed by Mourtada’s technique and it’s possible that he’s going to get things figured out by the end of the year. He might be the answer for 2022, but the Blue Bombers are a mature, veteran-laden team that’s ready to win now. They need someone they can rely upon to make high-pressure kicks in the postseason.

Whyte is effective, consistent, and should be available for the right price. He’s a veteran who has kicked in a large number of playoff games and won a Grey Cup.

If the Blue Bombers are looking to solidify the kicker spot, he should be their guy.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.