The Ottawa Redblacks are in close communication with pending free agent defensive lineman Lorenzo Mauldin IV with less than a month to go before he reaches the open market.
“I think sometimes certain contracts take a little longer to come together. The reality is Lorenzo was on a really good deal for us last year, a really team-friendly deal, and he deserves to be paid and we’re trying to find that avenue of what fits for the team,” general manager Shawn Burke told 3DownNation during the CFL’s off-season winter meetings.
“It wasn’t just about the sacks. It was what he brought in each game with effort level, physicality, run defence, pass, everything. Just certainly took on a leadership role within our team, so he should be congratulated. We’re excited to try to make him continue to be a Redblack and actively trying to make that happen.”
Burke was working for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats when Mauldin signed his first CFL contract in April 2019. He made 25 total tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble over two seasons with Hamilton, dressing for 17 games in what was primarily a special teams role. He followed Burke to Ottawa ahead of the 2022 season and had a breakout year, recording 43 tackles, 17 sacks, and two forced fumbles to be named the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
“I think Lorenzo is a great person, I don’t think he should be grateful for anything, he’s created his own opportunities. I don’t think I found Lorenzo Mauldin, he was a great football player long before he was an NFL draft pick. Sometimes it’s just time and place and he got the opportunity to shine and he ran with it,” said Burke.
“It’s a give and take, it’s a communication, it’s him understanding what we’re trying to do and we understanding that he’s trying to help his family, don’t take anything personally, work through it together. There’s a lot of trust built off of four years working together, so we’re working actively through it, no promises. Free agency happens for the players for a reason and the opportunity to pursue things and see what the value is on an open market and we have to respect and understand that, but we’re actively trying to get him done before free agency.”
Mauldin was a fourth-round pick of the New York Jets in the 2015 NFL Draft out of the University of Louisville. He made 33 tackles, four tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, two knockdowns, one interception, and one fumble recovery over 26 games with the team but missed the entire 2017 season due to a back injury. He was released the following season.
The 30-year-old defender said during Grey Cup week that he plans to test free agency this winter following a breakout year. He hired veteran CFL agent Kenny Kim to negotiate a deal on his behalf after previously representing himself.