‘One of the better players in our league’: Stampeders ‘still working’ to retain LB Jameer Thurman

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Calgary’s dynamic linebacking duo of Cameron Judge and Jameer Thurman may be splitting up after just one season with the latter likely headed to free agency.

“[Thurman’s] agent and I have talked. Rob Fry has a lot of guys and I do believe that we are still working. We’ll see,” said head coach and general manager Dave Dickenson on Tuesday. He also praised Thurman’s long-term contributions to the team, calling him “one of the better players in our league.”

The 28-year-old made 73 defensive tackles, one special teams tackle, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles this past season. Many of the Chicago native’s teammates have credited their success to opposing players running away from him, allowing them to make more tackles.

Though Thurman remains 3DownNation‘s top-ranked pending free agent linebacker, there are a number of impact players at the position who are still set to hit the open market. These include Darnell Sankey (Saskatchewan), Simoni Lawrence (Hamilton), Avery Williams (Ottawa), and Henoc Muamba (Toronto).

“The linebacker market is interesting,” said Dickenson. “There’s a lot of players out there and I’m curious to see where those numbers fit.”

Given the success former Stampeders such as Sankey and Wynton McManis have achieved in Toronto and Saskatchewan, respectively, Thurman should command as much as anyone in that position group as he makes other players around him better.

It appears as though Calgary has made an offer to Thurman, among other veterans, with Dickenson suggesting that five or six of the players left on their pending free-agent list have offers. He also indicated that there is only room for one or two of those deals to get done before the rest of them would have to be reconsidered.

Postmedia’s Danny Austin reported late Tuesday night that Thurman and defensive end Folarin Orimolade are both leaving via free agency and will not be back in Calgary.

Orimolade made 37 tackles, six sacks, one forced fumble, and an interception this past year and is currently 3DownNation‘s No. 2-ranked pending free agent. CJOB’s Derek Taylor credited him with a league-leading 52 quarterback pressures this past year, which was 11 more than the next highest player in the league.

The six-foot, 227-pound defender has made 269 defensive tackles, 31 special teams tackles, six sacks, six interceptions, and eight forced fumbles over 64 career games since signing with the Stampeders as a CFL rookie in 2017. His four seasons with the club were interrupted by an NFL stint with the Chicago Bears in 2019 and the DC Defenders of the XFL in 2020.

Editor’s note: this article was updated following its publication to reflect new developments in contract negotiations between the Stampeders and some of their pending free agents.

Ryan Ballantine is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Go Stamps Go Show Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.