Two very intriguing trades headlined the 2017 Canadian Football League season this past week. On Monday, the Edmonton Eskimos traded quarterback James Franklin and a third round pick in the 2018 CFL Draft to the Toronto Argonauts for offensive lineman Mason Woods of Maple Ridge, British Columbia. Also on Monday, the British Columbia Lions traded wide receiver Chris Williams to the Montreal Alouettes for defensive end Gabriel Knapton.
The acquisition of Franklin, makes it more probable that Ricky Ray is considering retirement. The Argonauts felt they needed a quarterback just in case Ray decides to end his Canadian Football League career as a Grey Cup champion.
Franklin has shown signs of brilliance in a backup role over the last three years with the Eskimos. He needs to be highly praised for his mobility and excellent decision making in a limited role. The reason why Franklin is leaving Edmonton has to do with Mike Reilly. The Eskimos will not be giving up Reilly, the reigning CFL most outstanding player, anytime soon and Franklin just wanted somewhere to play. He has earned that opportunity and the Eskimos cannot be blamed for wanting to get something for Franklin before he became a free agent.
Woods meanwhile may only be entering his second CFL season, but is already 6’9” and 325 pounds. There should be space for him on the Eskimos offensive line this season even though he did not play any games for the Argonauts last year after being drafted in the second round of the 2017 CFL Draft. The Eskimos apparently really like Woods’s versatility however as he can play either guard or tackle.
Meanwhile, Lions fans just never had a great chance to see what Williams could do for a full season. The 2011 CFL Rookie of the Year while with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Williams missed the first half of the year with a knee injury and only caught 38 passes for 415 yards and one touchdown. The Alouettes become Williams’s fourth CFL team as he also was with the Ottawa Redblacks.
Knapton has spent the last four seasons in Montreal and had 175 defensive tackles, 32 sacks and two forced fumbles. The Lions gave up 501 points last year, the most in the West Division.