New Argos’ LB Jordan Williams hopes move closer to family sparks ‘M.O.P’ season

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Canadian linebacker Jordan Williams wanted out of the B.C. Lions, but it had nothing to do with his level of satisfaction with the club.

The former first-overall pick in the 2020 CFL Draft was traded to the Toronto Argonauts this offseason in exchange for a first-round pick, a move he reportedly requested. However, the 28-year-old harbours no ill will toward his first CFL club, with the motivation for the trade coming off the field.

“Coming into 2023 I said, ‘How can I make my life more optimal?'” Williams explained in an interview on 620 CKRM’s The SportsCage this week. “Be closer to family and also have a place to stay, so it all works out for me.”

Though he hails from Fayetteville, N.C., Williams has Canadian citizenship through his mother, who was born in Toronto. He still has an uncle in the city and the remainder of his family is spread around the east coast, with a visit to The Six being much easier than the trek out to Vancouver.

Now looking to settle down, Williams hopes that suiting up for the Argos will allow his family to be at more games, potentially elevating his play to a higher level.

“It means a lot. Every time I have my best games is when my mother shows up to the game and I’m going crazy on the stat line,” he said with a chuckle. “Maybe if they show up every time now, I’ll go crazy — M.O.P!”

While becoming the second defensive player to be named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player might be an ambitious goal, it wouldn’t be the versatile linebacker’s first trophy. He was named the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2021 after amassing 92 defensive tackles, five special teams tackles, a sack and an interception in 14 games at middle linebacker.

While he hopes those closest to him will help spark a return to those heights, Williams also had another reason for requesting the move.

“I actually do multiple things [off the field], I’m a businessman,” he explained. “I mainly make most of my income off of trading in the stock market and the hours are better on the east coast to trade for power hour during the season.”

Power hour refers to the short period of time when the highest volume and largest stocks are traded on the stock market, typically during the last hour of the trading day. That usually happens from 3:00 pm EST to 4:00 pm EST, times when Williams would be occupied with football activities while with the Lions.

Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Williams can make a maximum of $86,500 next season. The income he makes day trading is an important supplement, though he still prefers the thrill of making plays on the field to clinching a big deal.

“Definitely on the field because with a trade you can’t get overzealous because when you start getting overzealous on that stuff, you tend to lose,” he said. “It’s almost like gambling but it’s not because you’ve got prior information on it, but you just can’t be too happy. You’ve got to have a poker face.”

A poker face might be necessary on the field as well, where Williams will be in a battle for playing time. He saw his role with the Lions decrease last season, collecting 89 defensive tackles, seven special teams tackles and three forced fumbles after bumping over to weakside linebacker.

The Argos already have two established starting linebackers in Wynton McManis and Henoc Muamba, though the team expects Williams to “push to start” over the veteran Canadian in the middle. Muamba is coming off a season in which he was named Grey Cup MVP and Williams is excited about the opportunity to learn from him.

“A veteran leader like Henoc will tell me the ins and outs of the game. He’s been at a high level in his game and he’s also played down south,” he said. “He knows the best of both worlds and how it translates because I’m a guy coming from down south to the north. He would know how to relate to me and we have a lot in common. I feel like this would better my game and optimize my playing style.”

With plenty of opportunity for both personal and professional growth, the third-year defender sees nothing but upside in his move out east.