Riders have ‘had discussions’ with DE Jonathan Woodard, but sack artist ‘not in a hurry’ to return to CFL

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have approached standout defensive end Jonathan Woodard about the possibility of returning to the CFL, but a reunion is not imminent according to general manager Jeremy O’Day.

Woodard signed with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs this offseason but was waived by the team on May 5. The 28-year-old is coming off a breakout CFL season during which he recorded 10 sacks — the second-highest total in the league — but believes his NFL opportunity is not formally over.

“We had discussions with Jonathan after he was released. There’s a strong possibility that he’s going to get re-signed with the Chiefs,” O’Day told fans during the team’s State of the Nation panel on Saturday.

“If that doesn’t come to fruition, we do own his rights but just because we own his rights doesn’t mean that he has to come back to us. It’s his decision if he wants to play, but if he does play in the CFL, it would have to be with us. We have had discussions with him, but he’s not in a hurry to come back north just yet.”

Woodard signed with the Chiefs during the CFL’s NFL window and still has a year remaining on his rookie contract. In his first season in Canada, Woodard played all 14 regular-season games, recording 21 defensive tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles. The native of Brentwood, Tenn. also suited up for both the West Semi-Final and the West Final, tallying another four defensive tackles and one sack.

The University of Central Arkansas product was a seventh-round selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2016 NFL Draft. He played with the team for one season and had stints with the Atlanta Falcons (2017), Miami Dolphins (2017-2019), and Buffalo Bills (2019-2020).

Woodard has dressed for six career regular-season NFL games, recording 10 total tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. He’s earned over $1.6 million playing pro football south of the border and will try to grow that number before returning to Saskatchewan.