The Saskatchewan Roughriders are not counting on Canadian receiver Brayden Lenius coming north of the border any time soon.
He worked out for four NFL teams in the offseason, including the Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, and San Francisco 49ers. After being offered a contract by multiple franchises, Lenius chose to sign with Atlanta. However, he was released by the Falcons on July 28, the second day of training camp.
“You’d always like to see good players in-house for sure. I don’t think we’ll see Lenius, I would be surprised if he doesn’t keep his NFL options open, at least for the next month or so,” Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson said.
The six-foot-five, 225-pound pass catcher started all 14 regular season games at slotback for Saskatchewan during the shortened 2021 schedule. He made 37 receptions for 471 yards with four touchdowns and also started the West Semi-Final versus Calgary and West Final against Winnipeg, notching six receptions for 43 yards.
The Regina native was selected by the Riders in the second round, 15th overall during the 2019 CFL Draft out of the University of New Mexico after previously playing for the University of Washington. He recorded 42 receptions for 452 yards and three touchdowns over three seasons at Washington (2014-2015, 2017) before transferring to New Mexico (2018) and making six catches for 39 yards with one touchdown.
Lenius ran a 4.75 forty-yard dash at the 2019 CFL Combine while weighing 243 pounds at the time. The big target also recorded a 33-inch vertical jump, 7.62 three-cone time, 4.66 short shuttle, and a nine-foot, seven-inch broad jump. He played a hybrid tight end/H-back role in 2019 but lost almost 30 pounds during the CFL’s extended 2020 off-season to be able to play receiver last year.
“Jeremy [O’Day] and I will talk, we’ll look at our team with an unemotional point of view, try to see where we think we need to get better,” Dickenson said entering his team’s first bye week of the 2022 CFL season.
“If we need to get better at certain spots and there are guys out there that can help us, we’ll turn the page and look at it. But we’re dealing with a salary cap world and you can’t go sign everybody, that comes into it as well.”
The 25-year-old Lenius is currently a free agent on both sides of the border. He received a $7,500 signing bonus from Atlanta and had $52,500 of his salary guaranteed for a total of $60,000 USD. That money can allow him to be patient in hopes of another NFL opportunity.