Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Veteran receiver Adarius Bowman is due a $140,000 roster bonus early next month. The six-foot-three, 215-pound slotback is a three-time CFL all-star but is coming off a sub-par 2017 season.
Bowman has cracked the 1,000-yard plateau three times over his six CFL campaigns with Edmonton. But last year, Bowman had 45 catches for 534 yards and five TDs over 12 regular-season games before adding five receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns in two playoff contests.
Bowman, who'll become a father for the first time this spring, did cap his season by receiving the Tom Pate Memorial Award for his community service. He also finished the year strong, registering 20 catches for 338 yards and five TDs in the Eskimos final five games (three regular season, two playoff).
Pro-rated over 18 games, that translates into 72 receptions for 1,216 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Sunderland declined an interview request Tuesday, citing the Eskimos' policy of not discussing contracts or salaries.
Bowman had a club-record 120 catches for a league-high 1,759 yards and nine TDs in 2016 then signed a contract extension through the 2018 season that at the time made him the league's highest-paid non quarterback. Bowman reportedly earned $260,000 last year and is scheduled to make $265,000 this year, including the bonus.
The choices facing Sunderland are: pay the bonus on the Feb. 5 due date and ensure Bowman stays put; re-negotiate Bowman's contract; trade him; or release him, thus making Bowman a free agent ahead of official Feb. 13 start of CFL free agency.
But any team acquiring Bowman would likely request to re-negotiate his current deal rather than pay the bonus.
Last month the Hamilton Tiger-Cats dealt quarterback Zach Collaros to Saskatchewan rather than pay him a reported $200,000 roster bonus. After the trade, the Riders and Collaros agreed to a restructured, one-year deal.
And last week, the Montreal Alouettes released veteran quarterback Darian Durant the day before he was due a $150,000 bonus.
Incidentally, Bowman, Collaros and Durant are all represented by the Vancouver-based Core Sports Group.
CALGARY - Playing another season year could've been easy for Rob Cote.
At age 31, the Calgary Stampeders fullback was more than strong and fast enough to continue playing offence and special teams for the only CFL team he's ever known. Especially one expected to be in the hunt for yet another championship.
But in his mind, Cote came to the realization he wouldn't be giving the game its due.
"It's hard for me to give the respect to the Week 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 games,'' Cote said Tuesday after announcing his retirement after 11 seasons with Calgary. "It's hard for me to give the respect those games demand and they deserve.
"Young guys are excited to give it that respect. I could show up for the playoffs for the next 10 years, but that's not what it's about, and that's what it means to me to know it's time to move on.''
The six-foot-one, 227-pound Cote appeared in 179 career regular-season games, tying him for eighth in franchise history. He also played in 12 West Division finals and four Grey Cups, winning twice.
He spent six seasons as a team captain and twice was voted by his teammates as the winner of the Presidents' Ring for excellence on and off the field.
Over his career, which Cote began as a 20-year-old after starring in the junior football ranks, he registered 113 receptions for 1,160 yards and 13 touchdowns. But the Cochrane, Alta., native's value was measured by much more than just numbers as Calgary never missed the playoffs during Cote's tenure, posting a 146-66-4 record over that span.
He also helped six Calgary running backs claim CFL rushing titles.
"He wasn't just a glue guy,'' said former teammate Jon Cornish, one of three players to earn the league's outstanding player award while sharing a backfield with Cote. "I would call him reinforcement in the concrete.
"He's the steel pole going through the entire team, holding it all together. For me, he was the team. As long as he was on the team, I thought we'd have consistent leadership. After we won in 2014, a lot of guys on the team for a long time left, and Rob stayed and he was able to share with the new guys and maintain the Stampeder tradition.''
Stampeders president/GM John Hufnagel called it a bittersweet day. He was happy to see a player leave the game on his own accord but knows his team has a big hole to fill.
"Rob was such a versatile player,'' Hufnagel said. ``Obviously he was our starting fullback, but he was also our backup running back, our backup receiver.
"He was able to do that because of his high football intelligence. We counted on Rob, and maybe even took advantage of Rob having that security blanket on the football team.''