Saturday, February 11, 2017
FRIDAY'S CFL MOVES
The veteran receiver signed a contract extension through the 2018 season Friday. He was scheduled to become a free agent Tuesday.
"Greg is an integral part of our offence and we're very pleased to have a player of his calibre experience and character in the Redblacks' organization for another two years,'' GM Marcel Desjardins said in a statement. "Trevor (Ottawa starter Trevor Harris) and Greg have a good relationship and this continuity will only benefit our offence.''
Ellingson had 76 catches for 1,260 yards - both career highs - and four TDs last season. The six-foot-three, 197-pound Tampa native recorded 69 receptions for 1,061 yards in 2015 with Ottawa.
Ellingson's 93-yard TD pass from Henry Burris led Ottawa to a thrilling 35-28 win over Hamilton in the 2015 East final and secure the franchise its first Grey Cup berth.
Knapton was scheduled to become a free agent Tuesday.
The six-foot-three, 263-pound Knapton is entering his fourth CFL season, all with Montreal. The American has appeared in 51 regular-season games, registering 137 tackles and 29 sacks, along with two forced fumbles.
"The re-signing of Gabriel is very important to our team, in particular to our defensive squad,'' Montreal GM Kavis Reed said in a statement. "His character and leadership are two elements which we hope will help lead our team to success in 2017.''
Last season, Knapton, 27, was seventh in the CFL with nine sacks and also had 49 tackles.
The two Canadians were scheduled to become free agents Tuesday.
The five-foot-10, 193-pound Adjei, of Toronto, appeared in 12 games last season. He recorded six catches for 52 yards and added five special-teams tackles.
Smith, of Mississauga. Ont., appeared in 15 games with Edmonton last year, registering four tackles and 15 special-teams tackles. The six-foot-two, 225-pound linebacker is entering his third season with Edmonton.
Simon, the CFL's all-time leading receiver, couldn't agree on contract extension with B.C. before the 2013 season. So after 12 years on the West Coast, Simon was dealt to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Phillips knew his day would also eventually come. But the 34-year-old didn't expect his tenure in B.C to end this way.
On Friday, the Lions announced they and the veteran defensive back had "mutually decided'' to part ways, cutting Phillips loose after 12 seasons and just four days before the start of CFL free agency.
The Seattle native said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press the term "mutual'' was technically true. However, what the Lions offered in terms of a contract and potential playing time were a slap in the face.
"The starting point was nowhere near worth the value of someone of my calibre,'' said Phillips, who joined B.C. in 2005. "The pay cut was outrageous.
"It's one thing to restructure and it's another thing to pay cut all the way. You don't ask a 12-year vet with my resume to go back to making third-year type money. That's just kind of insulting, let alone the role of being behind some guys that haven't done anything.
"If you want to say 'mutual' I guess so in that sense ... it's mutual I wasn't going to settle for something like that. They weren't going to budge, they weren't going to give me a legitimate shot to compete.''
Lions head coach/GM Wally Buono didn't fault Phillips for his reaction. But Buono reiterated it's his job to make tough decisions to try to improve his team.
"We wanted Ryan to be a part of our football club,'' said Buono. "We wanted him to be a part of our locker-room.
"We wanted him to be a part of our team going forward. The role then had to change. Unfortunately we couldn't agree.''
Notes: The Lions announced Friday defensive back T.J. Lee, who missed all but four games last season because of an Achilles injury, has signed a contract for 2017. Lee could've become a free agent Tuesday. B.C. also signed Canadian defensive lineman Dylan Ainsworth and announced the retirement of offensive lineman Tim O'Neill, an 11-year veteran.