Recent Signings And Releases

Ottawa REDBLACKS ? @REDBLACKS The #REDBLACKS have released international running backs DJ Harper and Michael Hayes. #CFL
No surprises with the running backs currently under contract. Walker, Finch, and i am guessing they will bring back one of Johnson or Williams.
The #REDBLACKS have signed: OT Aaron Wheaton (Toronto) DE Stephon Miller (Windsor) LS Kevin Malcolm (McMaster) DE Vincent Desloges (Laval)

Harper looked good to me based on the small amount of playing time he got, so I was a little surprised to see him go, but I was reminded later that they have Roy Finch, too. I think they want him to be a Brandon Banks type for them.

As far as the defensive linemen signed go, I guess we won't be hurting for numbers at that position come camp. By my count, we have 11 Nationals there. I don't like their chances of sticking around, frankly, but who knows?

I'll just use this existing thread to post a tidbit about free agency that Tim Baines included in a Sun article about the recent trade.

While contract offers have been made, it’s possible none of the seven potential RedBlacks free agents will be back. Both OL Joe Eppele and LB Jason Pottinger could retire, while DL Moton Hopkins had an NFL tryout with Minnesota. The RedBlacks offered new deals to OL Alex Krausnick-Groh and WR Wallace Miles, who tuned them down. WR Dobson Collins could also be gone. The RedBlacks decided not to make an offer to RB Jonathan Williams, who injured his knee late last season and won’t be ready for several months.
Wow, that's awful about Williams. He was my favourite of the 120 or so running backs we had to play last year. I know it's rare, but I hope he's able to rehab.

Aside from him, the only guy I would miss is Hopkins. I'm surprised that Krausnick and Miles would trun down offers, unless they were terrible deals. It's not like either guy can dictate his price. Maybe Krausnick wants to see about the possibility of going closer to home...

Self-correcting. Got distracted and didn't finish my sentence earlier.

Yeah, i enjoyed watching Williams as well. Tough break for him.

Read on ... -big-move/ that Krausnick wants to play down West next year.

While Miles may still have NFL aspirations.

Good read!! 8)


Yeah, because they LOVE inconsistency in the NFL. Go for it, Wallace! :thup:

Almost forgotten was what a good season Walker was having before he got injured. Signing Johnson should be a priority giving them a 1-2 RB situation. Could allow Walker to use his speed on Kick Off returns more often

Here's a few camp guys to look out for:

SIGNED international wide receiver Skyy Simmons (6-4-200, West Chester)
SIGNED international linebacker John Kanongata’a (5-10, 220, Montana)
SIGNED international wide receiver Michael Campbell (6-2, 205, Temple)
SIGNED international defensive lineman Cory Henry (6-3, 238, Florida Atlantic)

A little article on Simmons:

Syracuse, NY (NCC News) — Skyy Simmons has a passion for football. If his six-foot-four inch, 200 pound build doesn’t give it away, his work ethic will. Simmons ran track on scholarship at Syracuse University.

When he graduated back in 2009, Simmons said he could feel the desire burning inside him to try returning to the sport he loved in high school.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,? Simmons said. “But didn’t always think I was capable.?

He set out to prove himself wrong.

Getting Back Into It

Simmons pursued graduate school at West Chester University of Pennsylvania directly after graduating from SU. He studied public administration – and a lot of football. He played two years on the WCU team, but didn’t get a whole lot of playing time as a transfer and guy who was re-teaching the sport to his body.

After graduating in 2011, Simmons spent the next year training on his own, without an agent. Then opportunity knocked. The New York Giants called and said they needed a receiver. Simmons went to work out with the team but didn’t hear back from them until five months later.

“I felt like I had lost some focus in that time gap,? said Simmons. “When I went to workout with [the Giants], I didn’t perform to the potential that I have for myself.?

After that, he never heard back from the team.

Then, Simmons fractured his foot and had to take a year off.

Staying Positive, Working Through Struggle

Simmons could’ve called it quits right then. But that’s just not like him. He continued to workout on his own and vowed to stay focused.

Simmons used social media to chronicle his trials and errors. He gradually amassed thousands of followers on Instagram and hits on YouTube by posting words of encouragement and homemade inspirational workout videos.

“It really surprised me,? said Simmons. “I get comments and direct messages all the time from people, asking for advice or giving me support.?

Even NFL players. New York Jets cornerback, Darrin Walls, noticed Simmons on Instagram a couple years ago. He thought Simmons was already in the league.

“He definitely has the qualities and characteristics to make it in the league,? said Walls. “Once he gets his shot.?

Walls still keeps in touch with Simmons and has been a supporter of his.

Helping Others

Simmons has used his journey, especially the struggles, to help other people, not just on social media. He’s worked with SU football players on footwork and invited them to workout with him.

“He could have easily been like, ‘I’m out here, by myself blah blah blah. But I see somebody, who’s trying to get better like me,'? said Darius Kelly, strong safety for the Orange. “So [Simmons says] ‘I’m gonna pick him up, and myself and we’ll get through this together.'?

SU cornerback Eric Jackson, feels similarly. “Not even just physically, Skyy has helped me with confidence and believing in myself,? said Jackson.

The drive that Simmons exemplifies is something the guys are able to pick up on and gravitate towards.

“Every day, he’ll send me a Bible quote, just to keep pushing me and keep me going,? said Kelly.

Whether Simmons gets picked up by the NFL or not, he will continue to pick others up by allowing them to share in his journey.

Nothing earth-shattering.

SIGNED international wide receiver Lanear Sampson (5-11, 205, Baylor)
RELEASED international quarterback Joey Elliott (Purdue).

Here's Sampson's draft profile, for kicks.

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It is starting to look like Ottawa will be only have second tier type players in free agency to try and sign. Teams are resigning most of their impact players IMO. WR Sinopoli would a nice addition for their depth at the National positions. Maybe Dan Lefevour would strengthen the QB situation. I just don't see them signing Calgary Center Jones or Saskatchewan Guard Ben Heenan. Maybe they can sign WR Earnest Jackson away from the BC Lions if they want to make him a well paid International receiver. But Mo Price may have got that money. Some veteran International Left Tackles out there like Rogers, Bryant and January but are they that much better than what they have for the money.
Just shows team have to draft smart in the Canadian draft then scout and sign your own International players.

Yep. Was pretty well thinking the same. Free agency is less of an "event" now.

It is what it is. I'm hoping that even if they can't upgrade the talent to their desire, the additions of Maas and Chiu to the coaching staff improves on what they already have.

Bakari Grant might be a nice acquisition, if it's feasible at that point. He doesn't get talked about as much as some other guys but he's certainly been productive for a couple of years there (unless there's something about him that I'm not aware of).

Only if he brings back this lid though: 8)

It looks like all of the free agents are signing with their old teams. Banks and Tasker both signed again with Hamilton.
I expect all of the others will go back to their original teams. I think they are set a the RB position and I don't think the QB situation is a problem, the important thing is getting protection from the "O" line. For receivers Price was a great pick up and they have Jamil Smith and Marcus Henry and Kerriie Johnson is outstanding, he was injured for most of the year.

A little Twitter news.

[b]Scott Mitchell[/b] Riders traded the rights to University of Calgary Dinos kicker Johnny Mark to the Ottawa #RedBlacks for a conditional draft pick today. #CFL

Article about Mark from the Peterborough Examiner.

[url=] ... fl-for-now[/url]
Johnny Mark rejected a contract offer from the Saskatchewan Roughriders to return to the University of Calgary Dinos.

The Peterborough place kicker, the Roughriders third pick in the 2014 CFL draft, did not earn a spot on the team's 46-man roster but Mark says the Riders wanted to protect him on their injured reserve list.

Two Peterborough natives will be on CFL opening day rosters with wide receiver Brad Sinopoli entering his fourth season with the Calgary Stampeders and fullback Carl Fitzgerald his second with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Mark, who appeared in two pre-season games for the defending Grey Cup champions, turned the offer down to complete his physics degree. He has two years of CIS eligibility remaining and is 13 credits short of his degree.

“It was a way they could keep me and still pay my full salary,? Mark, a Kenner grad, said Sunday. “I told them when they drafted me I wouldn't stay on a practice roster. I'd be better off going back to school.?

Mark looked into whether he could continue his schooling while remaining with the Riders but determined it wasn't feasible. He was officially released Saturday by Saskatchewan making him a free agent. While he could sign or tryout with any CFL team, Mark says he'd like to return to the Riders camp next spring.

“As long as nothing changes and the opportunity is still there, I'll be back,? said Mark.

It wasn't an easy decision, he said.

“On one hand it's a big opportunity to be offered a spot on a pro team in any situation. To be able to stay and be paid a full salary would have been a pretty big accomplishment and I would have been proud of that. I think, ultimately, this is a better choice.?

Mark kicked a convert and a kickoff in his first pre-season game against Ottawa. In his second, against Edmonton, he averaged 48 yards on four punts and missed a 28-yard field goal by hitting the uprights.

“I'll admit my first kick each game I was really nervous,? he said. “The pressures and circumstances are a little different. After that first kick was out of the way I was able to settle down. It was just football again. It was an exciting opportunity and exciting to be around the guys.?

Mark is confident he has the skills to be a CFL kicker but he says he was drafted by one of the toughest teams to crack.

“They have a very solid kicker in Chris Milo and they acquired Josh Bartel in a trade from Hamilton. Both are very talented,? he said.

Mark has been a CIS all-star the past two years leading in field goal percentages and among points leaders. The Dinos lost in last year's Vanier Cup and will be strong contenders again.

“It's probably the largest returning class any team has. We only lose two or three guys,? he said. “That's a good sign.?

Nice college numbers.

Yeah, something had to give with our FG kicking - Lets hope Mark is that guy who is dependable going forward.

Does anyone know the answer to this question -- How can SSK claim to have held the rights to John Mark -- the rights they traded this week to the RBs?

As the Peterborough Examiner article posted above by CRFadmin points out Mark was released by SSK at the end of their 2014 training camp and became a free agent. confirms the "release" of Mark by SSK on June 22/14.

Good question. I think that when it's a draft pick, you can release them to finish their schooling but still retain their rights. But yeah, the article does not make that clear. In fact it seems to contradict it outright.

Negotiation list?

I'm also curious as to what the pick is in 2016. Saskatchewan drafted him in the 3rd round, I believe.