The Toronto Argonauts have agreed to terms with defensive end Folarin Orimolade, per sources.
It’s a two-year contract that makes him the highest-paid at his position in the CFL. His deal pays $240,000 in 2023, including a $100,000 signing bonus, and $250,000 in 2024.
Reigning Most Oustanding Defensive Player Lorenzo Mauldin and Winnipeg Blue Bombers star Willie Jefferson will each earn $200,000 in hard money this coming season.
The 27-year-old pass rusher had a breakout season with the Calgary Stampeders in 2022, amassing 37 defensive tackles, six sacks, one forced fumble and a pick-six in 17 regular season games. Orimolade had his best performance of the year in the West Semi-Final against the B.C. Lions, tallying six tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble in the loss.
The five-foot-ten, 238-pounder first joined the Stamps in 2018, playing in 10 games as a rookie. He notched seven defensive tackles, 10 special teams tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one knockdown while adding two special-teams tackles and one fumble recovery in Calgary’s Grey Cup victory over Ottawa.
Orimolade missed the entire 2019 season with a quadriceps injury and was limited to seven games in 2021 due to a high ankle sprain. He registered eight defensive tackles including one tackle for loss, one special-teams stop and two sacks that season.
Before arriving in Canada, the Dartmouth product attended training camp with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted NFL free agent. He was named the Ivy League’s defensive player of the year in 2016 and was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the best defensive player in NCAA Division I football after recording 83 tackles including 14.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, five forced fumbles and three pass breakups as a senior.
The Stampeders stuck with the young edge rusher despite his health struggles and were rewarded in 2022. Though he was overshadowed by fellow defensive end Shawn Lemon earning the West Division nomination for Most Outstanding Defensive Player, many around the league believe Orimolade has more upside of the two.
Former Calgary defensive line coach Corey Mace coached the Washington, D.C. native through his first three seasons in the league and he’s currently the defensive coordinator for the Argonauts. With Ja’Gared Davis expected to hit free agency, Orimolade will be a highly coveted addition to his defence once contracts can officially be signed on Tuesday, February 14.