Winners and losers in today’s CFL trading and signing frenzy

Charleston Hughes is a Stamp. No, he’s a TiCat. Hmmm…let’s try this again: He’s a Rider.

Odell Willis is an Esk. Wait, I mean he’s a REDBLACK. Uh, he’s a Lion.

Ricky Ray has signed on for at least another year in Toronto.

Demond Washington remains a TiCat.

Vernon Adams also is a TiCat.

Jake Ceresna is now an Esk.

Duron Carter got picked up for marijuana possession at the Saskatoon airport.

What a day!

A quick synopsis of what the trading and signing frenzy means for the CFL’s teams:


The Saskatchewan Roughriders are inching closer to being a dangerous team. Charleston Hughes brings his sack-master skills to a defense that was very good in several categories. But it was awful at generating sacks, netting just 27. Only Montreal had fewer. Meanwhile, Duron Carter remains an amazing talent and a knucklehead. He got caught possessing marijuana in Saskatoon. And it appears that was his second run in with the law in recent months.

I mentioned in a post uploaded after Hughes was sent to Hamilton that the Calgary Stampeders are about to find out how much depth they really have. The Stamps remain the team to beat in the Western Division, but they are likely to be a younger (and because of that potentially a hungrier) team in 2018.

The Edmonton Eskimos also are attempting to get younger (and less expensive) on defense. Jake Ceresna had a quietly good year in Ottawa, and moving to Edmonton suggests he’ll have a front and center role with this defense. But the gap between the Esks and the Riders might be narrower than the Esks and the Stamps.

The BC Lions have reunited Odell Willis and general manager Ed Hervey, who hit the right notes in the aftermath of the deal. This trade would have really made a difference if Willis were an offensive lineman, an area of maximum need. In the brutally tough west, BC won’t go anywhere unless it opens up holes for its running backs and keeps Jonathan Jennings upright.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers appear content to fly under the radar. Bringing Darian Durant in to be the backup quarterback to Matt Nichols and cutting another quarterback, Dominique Davis, doesn’t compare to what the division rivals have done.


The Hamilton TiCats apparently are not going to reach a deal with quarterback Johnny Manziel. Good. That alone ensures this team won’t need a big tent over Tim Horton’s Field. Acquiring Vernon Adams from Saskatchewan is a smarter and less expensive move. There’s been good buzz around this franchise in recent weeks, and if Hamilton can bring in a veteran defensive player or two, the buzz will only get louder.

At some point, James Franklin is going to wonder if he will ever be a starting quarterback in the CFL. Stuck behind Mike Reilly in Edmonton, Franklin joins the Toronto Argonauts only to find out that Ricky Ray wants to keep playing. The Argos remain unsettled on offense, however, with it becoming more and more likely that running back James Wilder and wide receiver Devier Posey will not wear the Double Blue this season.

The Ottawa REDBLACKS won’t remain in neutral much longer, but they’ll be heading the wrong way if wide receiver Diontae Spencer, the projected top free agent available, opts to sign with another team. Yes, running back Mossis Madu will be back, and the REDBLACKS did add fullback Jean-Christophe Beaulieu in a trade, but Ottawa right now is not the best team in the Eastern Division.

The Montreal Alouettes remain a team in transition. Various roster moves have been made during the off-season, but none does anything to suggest that this team will be competitive in 2018.


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