Listed below is last week’s poll (still open for votes), asking you fans which CFL team has made the best moves with acquiring new talent or signing existing players to have a shot at the 2015 Grey Cup. The latest tally puts the Ottawa REDBLACKS and Saskatchewan Roughriders in first with 22% of all votes, each. Why is this the case? Let’s take a look at a few key roster changes made by these teams and break down why you guys feel they deserve some recognition.
Greg Ellingson – Ellingson comes to Ottawa from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Greg will only be entering his 3rd season in the CFL in 2015, but has already amassed 1,229 receiving yards along with 6 career touchdowns. Greg played with Henry Burris during his rookie year in Hamilton, so look for familiarity to take an effect between passer and receiver.
Ernest Jackson – Ernest will be entering his 4th official season in the CFL as he comes to Ottawa looking to expand on his breakout 2014 season. Last year Jackson was able to find the end zone 3 times as he caught 49 balls to the tune of 813 yards.
Maurice Price – Among the most high-profile acquisitions this off-season, Maurice Price leaving Calgary (as a Grey Cup Champion, no less) needs to be considered among the most intriguing. Price was the first move that put Ottawa into many fans’ minds as one of the big movers and shakers ahead of 2015. Price has already had a stellar career with 109 career receptions adding up to 1,737 yards and 12 touchdowns.
SirVincent Rogers – Between Winnipeg and Ottawa, most fans speculated that offensive linemen would become primary off-season targets. Indeed, the REDBLACKS jumped at the opportunity to sign this big OL as the Texan has shown to be effective at both guard as well as tackle. SirVincent is another young asset that deepens Ottawa’s talent pool for a long time.
Brad Sinopoli – Returning to where he played his collegiate football (and where he won the coveted Hec Crighton Trophy), Sinopoli joins the REDBLACKS right as his transition from quarterback to receiver has firmly been established. With 4 seasons under his belt, Brad has rapidly become a valuable target on any team’s offence.
Chris Williams – Ottawa’s best kept secret this off-season appears to have been the behind-the-scenes dealings with former Tiger-Cat phenom; Chris Williams. Williams will play both offense as well as special teams for the REDBLACKS as he looks to re-ignite his CFL career as one of the league’s most exciting kick returners. Williams too has experience with REDBLACKS’ QB; Henry Burris, which was undoubtedly a reason Ottawa management acquired him.
Shea Emry – As 2014 closed, Saskatchewan had to reassess the assets they had overall. When looking at their defense, it was clear that they had a lot of depth at defensive line. With that in mind, and with the hopes of retaining the current national ratio, the Roughriders traded DE Ricky Foley back to Toronto in exchange for veteran Canadian linebacker; Shea Emry. Shea will enter his 9th season this year and in that time has collected 333 tackles, 14 sacks, and 4 interceptions. Look for Emry to lead yet another strong defensive squad in Saskatchewan.
Kevin Glenn – Cleverly-monikered the best insurance plan in football, Kevin Glenn was acquired by the Roughriders ahead of the 2015 season. Glenn has spent the past 14 years playing for 5 different teams. In that time he has risen the all-time statistical leader board quite steadily to find himself 8th overall for passing yards (behind Matt Dunigan ~500 yards). The veteran adds much needed security behind center with Darian Durant being afflicted with injury in the latter half of 2014.
Alex Hall – Fresh off of a stint in the NFL, Hall looks to bring his 6’6” frame back to the end of Saskatchewan’s defensive line. With the young veteran back in the fold, Saskatchewan remains among the most voracious of defenses. In 2013 alone, Hall was able to add 16 sacks to his career totals in the CFL.
Keenan MacDougall – As a 2014 Grey Cup Champion, MacDougall has a lot to live up to with his new squad. The Saskatoon-native will do several things for the Roughriders in 2015. As a Canadian safety, MacDougall provides some space to adjust rosters should injuries arise. More importantly though, the young defender has proven himself to be a valuable jack of all trades in special teams applications. The speedy back will be a welcome fit to Corey Chamblin’s squad.
Jamel Richardson – As recently as 2011 and 2012, Jamel Richardson could have been on any scout’s list as one of the CFL’s most touted wide receivers. Falling to injury in 2013, Richardson sat out the 2014 season as he rehabilitated. With 585 catches resulting in over 8,000 receiving yards, Jamel will be a welcomed presence in the Saskatchewan locker-room. Jamel started his career in green, and much like Kevin Glenn, could put a very nice coming-home story together in 2015.
Please note that we have only summarized a few of the many notable transactions that occurred this off-season.