Kyle Walters and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have signed 33 free agents since their 22-14 loss in the West Final on November 18. Here’s some context to each free agent signing the blue and gold have made since then, according to CFL.ca.
Free Agent Signings
November 20, 2018
Winnipeg signs Patrick Choudja and Kenny Lawler.
Choudja is a defensive end that spent four years with Nevada and signed as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 2018. He could push for a practice roster spot.
Lawler was a seventh-round draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2016. The Seahawks cut and signed Lawler numerous times before he came up north, spending time on the B.C. Lions’ practice roster and now Winnipeg’s. Lawler will compete in a shallow receiving corps.
November 28, 2018
Winnipeg signs Joe Este and Evan Clark.
Este spent two seasons at the University of Tennesse-Martin. The 5’11, 200 lbs. defensive back signed with the Tennesse Titans in 2018. Este’s had to push through adversity at a young age. He’s someone to root for in training camp as a feel-good story.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* Clark had 90 receptions, 1,701 yards, and 29 touchdowns in five years at St. John’s University, a Divison lll school. He could be someone to watch in training camp.
December 5, 2018
Winnipeg signs Evan Perrizo.
Perizzo recorded 12 sacks as a defensive end in his senior season at Minnesota State. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 and could stand out due to his size in Bombers’ training camp, standing at 6’5, 275 lbs.
December 11, 2018
Winnipeg signs Jimmy Pruitt.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* The 6’0, 203 lbs. defensive back spent four years at San Jose State, making 182 tackles. He signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2016 and will compete for a spot on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers roster in training camp.
December 27, 2018
Winnipeg signs Otha Peters.
In two seasons at Lousiana-Lafayette, Peters recorded 162 tackles as a linebacker, and he’s been on three NFL rosters. Peters will battle for a special teams spot.
January 17, 2019
Winnipeg signs Jarnor Jones, Chauncey Briggs, and Amari Coleman.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* The former Iowa State linebacker spent time with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers. He snagged an impressive interception in the 2017 NFL pre-season with the Falcons but didn’t stick around. Jones will compete for a role in the secondary/outside linebacker.
Briggs is a 6’6, 300 lbs. offensive lineman who was on the Edmonton Eskimos roster in 2018. With numerous spots up for grabs on the Bombers o-line, Briggs is a darkhorse to earn a starting role.
Coleman is a former Central Michigan cornerback. He was one of CMU’s defensive players of the year in 2016 and will be one of many rookie defensive backs in the Bombers training camp.
January 30, 2019
Winnipeg signs Garrett Johnson, Bryan Schor, Jalen Simmons, and Mykkele Thompson.
Johnson played four years at Kentucky, totaling over 2,000 receiving yards. He’ll be in tough in training camp as a 5’11, 175 lbs. receiver with average speed.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* Schor threw for over 7,000 yards at James Madison University, breaking numerous school records. Unless he shines at camp, Schor will struggle to earn a roster spot with Winnipeg.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* At 5’8, 205 lbs., Simmons is a thick running back. Most recently, he spent the 2018 pre-season with the New York Giants, rushing for 90 yards on 24 attempts before being cut prior to Week 1. He’ll be someone to watch come May.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* Thompson was a fifth-round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2015, appearing in one regular season NFL game. The Italy native is a taller defensive back, coming it at 6’1. Expect Thompson to contend for a roster spot.
February 1, 2019
Winnipeg signs Noble Nwachukwu.
Nwachukwu is an explosive defensive end that played four years at West Virginia University. He’ll need to stand out in a crowded group of defensive ends in Winnipeg.
February 1, 2019
Winnipeg signs Rasheed Bailey and Dom Williams.
Bailey is the all-time leader in receiving yards at Delaware Valley University with 3,138. The 6’2 receiver has been on four NFL rosters as well as the B.C. Lions’. Bailey could stand out in Winnipeg’s training camp and is a longshot to grab a starting spot.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* Williams recorded 2,889 receiving yards in four years at Washington State University. He’ll need to have a great training camp to stick around in Winnipeg.
February 6, 2019
Winnipeg signs Dexter Janke.
Janke transitioned to defensive back once being drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in the fifth round of the 2015 CFL draft. In three seasons with Calgary, he recorded 14 tackles. As a National, he’ll have an inside track to a special teams spot.
CFL Free Agency Begins
February 13, 2019
Winnipeg signs Willie Jefferson, Tim Wilson, Kendall Calhoun, and Winston Rose.
Arguably the CFL’s best defensive player, Jefferson is a two-time all-star who spent the past three years with the Roughriders. Jefferson has 31 sacks, two interceptions, and three touchdowns in five CFL seasons. He’s a game-changing defensive end with the ability to score in numerous ways.
Wilson stands at 5’9, 170 lbs. The former receiver at East Stroudsburg University is a speedster, running a 4.42 40-yard dash. He collected 2,042 yards and 16 in college in 39 games. He’ll have to show off his speed in camp if he wants a spot on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers roster.
The 6’7, 300 lbs. offensive lineman played a year at the University of Cincinnati before spending time with the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins. Calhoun’s size should stand out in Winnipeg’s training camp.
Rose is an up-and-coming defensive back. He’s played two CFL seasons, most recently with the B.C. Lions in 2018 where he recorded 32 tackles and five interceptions. Expect Rose to replace the departed Kevin Fogg at field-side cornerback.
February 15, 2019
Winnipeg signs Malik Reaves, D.J. Lalama, and Alex McCalister.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* Reaves recorded 178 tackles and four interceptions in 43 games with Vilanova. At 6’0, 200 lbs., Reaves has good size for a defensive back, which could be an advantage to cracking a spot on the Bombers roster.
Lalama was born in Winnipeg and is now a Bomber. The 25-year-old played linebacker for the University of Manitoba before spending time with the Edmonton Eskimos and Montreal Alouettes. He’ll be a solid special teamer for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
McCalister recorded 49 tackles and 12.5 sacks in 20 games at the University of Florida. He can play either defensive end or outside linebacker and was a Philadelphia Eagles seventh-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft. McCalister has a similar body to star CFL defensive end Willie Jefferson.
February 25, 2019
Winnipeg signs Maxx Forde and Larry Rose.
Forde spent the last two seasons with the B.C. Lions, recording 10 tackles and one sack. He was traded to the Ottawa Redblacks last fall but a failed physical voided the trade. Forde will serve as a depth defensive lineman for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Rose rushed for 4,558 rushing yards in four seasons at New Mexico State. He was the 2015 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year and recently played one game in the AAF with the Arizona Hotshots. As an American running back, Rose will be in tough to earn a roster spot — the practice roster is likely Rose’s best case scenario.
Post-CFL Free Agency
March 1, 2019
Winnipeg signs Dale Warren.
Warren spent four seasons at Chattanooga as a linebacker, making 151 tackles. He’ll be battling with plenty of others for a special teams spot on the Bombers.
March 7, 2019
Winnipeg signs Chinedu Oparaku.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* Oparaku played three seasons with Fairmont State University and has high hopes coming to play football in Canada. He’s someone to watch in training camp come May.
March 8, 2019
Winnipeg signs Kenny Walker.
Walker spent four years at UCLA and spent time with the Calgary Stampeders in 2017 and 2018. He ran a 4.29 40-yard dash at his pro day. The 5’9, 188 lbs. receiver is a burner and someone to keep an eye on for explosive plays in training camp.
March 28, 2019
Winnipeg signs Dennis Parks.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* Parks played 43 games at Rice, tallying 1,507 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Parks’ spent time with the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns. At 6’2, 200 lbs., Parks could add some size to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiving corps.
April 1, 2019
Winnipeg signs Terrance Baldwin.
*RELEASED APRIL 29* Baldwin recorded 159 tackles 31 pass breakups in four seasons with the West Liberty University Hilltoppers. The 22-year-old will need to have a superb training camp in order to stand out among a big crop of International defensive backs.
April 8, 2019
Winnipeg signs Malik Boynton.
Boynton, a 22-year-old defensive back, has had a difficult journey to get to where he is. In four years at Austin Peay State University, Boynton amassed 158 tackles after playing receiver in his freshman year. Boynton’s recently been with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Memphis Express of the AAF.
The Last Word
Out of the 33 free agents that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have signed since their 2018 season concluded, five have played in a regular season CFL game. That said, it’s normal for CFL clubs to bring in an abundance of International free agents, most of whom had stints on NFL rosters.
Aside from the four veteran additions, Jefferson, Rose, Forde, and Lalama, watch Dexter Janke, Joe Este, Chauncey Briggs, Malik Boynton, and Kenny Walker throughout the Bombers’ pre-season. Each has a realistic shot at sticking around come Week 1.
Bombers fans can check out Winnipeg’s roster additions once training camp begins in May, and then in game action on May 31 when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the Edmonton Eskimos in Week 1 of the 2019 pre-season.
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