The Canadian Football League’s free agency started on Tuesday. If you are looking for any significant moves at quarterback, the bottom line is there wasn’t any.
One of the most intriguing transactions came in Montreal. The Alouettes signed defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman. Even though Westerman was born in Brooklyn, New York, he is considered a Canadian because he attended high school at Notre Dame Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario. Last year while with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Westerman was Winnipeg’s nominee for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian award. In three years with Winnipeg, Westerman had 118 defensive tackles, 32 sacks and four forced fumbles.
Jamaal Westerman also has a wealth of NFL experience. He played 58 games with the New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers from 2009 to 2013.
Jamaal Westerman will also be uniting with his brother Jabar Westerman. A defensive tackle, Jabar Westerman played five seasons for the B.C. Lions from 2012 to 2016 before joining the Alouettes in 2017. Last season, Jabar Westerman had nine defensive tackles and one sack.
In addition to acquiring Jamaal Westerman, the Alouettes plucked two defensive players from the Calgary Stampeders in acquiring defensive backs Joe Burnett and Tommie Campbell. The Alouettes clearly realize they cannot give up 580 points again this season and are making drastic improvements to their organization.
The Stampeders also lost running back Jerome Messam to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Last season, Messam had 1016 rushing yards (third most in the CFL) and nine touchdowns. A native of Brampton, Ontario, Messam was the top Canadian in the 2017 Grey Cup game even though the Stampeders lost 27-24 to the Toronto Argonauts.
Also on the defensive side of the ball, the Ottawa Redblacks have signed veteran linebacker Kyries Hebert. This will be Hebert’s second time in Ottawa, as he was a member of the Renegades from 2004 to 2005. Last season with the Alouettes, Hebert was very productive at age 37. He had 110 tackles, two sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles. Like Jamaal Westerman, Hebert has NFL experience as he played two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2008 to 2009.