The Toronto Argonauts made headlines this past week when they announced that Ricky Ray would return for the 2018 CFL season. A Grey Cup champion in 2017, there is no doubt that Ray had a resurgence last season after playing only a combined total of 11 games due to injury in 2015 and 2016.
The Argonauts were not sure if Ray was coming back and that is the primary reason why they went out and acquired James Franklin from the Eskimos. Franklin was the backup behind Mike Reilly in Edmonton and now it appears he will be behind Ray on the Argonauts depth chart for the 2018 season.
One thing we do know and that is that just in case Ray goes down with an injury in 2018, the Argonauts should not miss a beat at the quarterback position. Franklin has outstanding mobility and should flourish in a Marc Trestman style of offense. What the Argonauts need more than anything at the moment is to find a suitable replacement at running back to replace the versatile James Wilder Jr. who surprisingly decided to opt out of his contract for insurance reasons.
Speaking of the Eskimos, they decided to release Adarius Bowman this past week. Bowman was a CFL All-Star with the Eskimos for three consecutive seasons from 2014 to 2016, but saw his numbers drop significantly in 2017. After having 1761 yards in 2016, Bowman only had 534 yards in 2017.
The Eskimos also decided to trade two-time CFL All-Star defensive end Odell Willis to the Ottawa Red Blacks. Known as the Minister of Defense, the Eskimos received defensive lineman Jake Ceresna in return. It seems to be clear that the Eskimos were trying to get a little younger in the decisions they made.
Willis then was traded to the B.C. Lions for a fourth round draft pick in the 2018 CFL Draft and a player on the Lions negotiation list. Willis is reunited with Lions general manager Ed Hervey, who was responsible in bringing Willis to the Eskimos from the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2013.
Willis was one of two all-star defenders to be dealt twice this week. The other was defensive lineman Charleston Hughes who was first traded from the Calgary Stampeders to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with a fourth round draft pick in the 2018 CFL Draft for a fourth round draft pick in the 2018 CFL Draft and a fourth round draft pick in the 2019 CFL Draft. Hughes was then traded from the Tiger-Cats to the Roughriders for quarterback Vernon Adams Jr.