Charleston Hughes trade makes sense but still sucks for Stamps fans

Sometimes being a fan of a football team sucks. It doesn’t suck because the team is terrible or your season ticket prices went up; it sucks because sometimes the business of football stabs you in the heart.

I first bought a Charleston Hughes jersey in 2010 and wore it proudly as I cheered every tackle, every dance after every sack, and every win that the StampMachine contributed to over the last decade. It was a decade of excellence that saw him win the sack title three times, get named to the All Star team three times and hold the Grey Cup aloft twice.

Always affable, ready with a quote and never shying away from trash talk with both opponents and fans, Hughes was one of the faces of the Hufnagel era.

Now, because he collected the cheque that befitted his status as the best defensive end in the league, he finds himself a casualty of the business side of the game.

Traded to Hamilton for a fourth-round pick and then quickly flipped to the Roughriders in exchange for Vernon Adams, Hughes suggests he is nowhere near the end of the road. “I’m still at the top of my game…my knees work and like my old friend Smitty says, I still got all my teeth, so…”

With a whole secondary still to consider, Hughes became a salary cap liability given the depth the Stampeders currently boast at the position. “Charleston had a sizable amount of money coming to him in the very very near future…” says GM John Hufnagel and noting that he joins the fans in thinking the return wasn’t high enough for a player of Hughes calibre. “It was either try and get something or put him out on the street.”

Hufnagel added that he thought Hughes name should eventually join the Wall of Fame here at McMahon but mentioned that “Will Johnson is probably happy” as Hughes leaves Calgary tied with Johnson atop the all-time sack list with 99 career QB drops. Hughes agrees “I do expect to see my name up there, my teammates or ex-teammates now, a lot of them called me a walking talking Hall of Famer and that’s part of what drives me”

Hughes found himself on the outside looking in following the re-signing of Ja’Gared Davis earlier this week.

Every year on my Horsemen Radio podcast, along with my co-hosts, I get the opportunity to sit down with the Stampeders head coach for a preseason interview. Inevitably, the question comes up as to who the coach sees as a player that will surprise fans in their effectiveness on the field. A player that will step to the fore who may have previously gone unnoticed. Last year, without even a moment’s reflection Dave Dickenson named Davis.

“He’s a player that we need to get onto the field,” Dickenson said expressing admiration for Davis’ athletic abilities.

Well, you can chalk another one up for the Stamps bench boss when it comes to the football IQ chart as Davis went on to start in place of the injured Cordarro Law racking up nine sacks in 10 games while suffering through a few injuries himself. Add in two forced fumbles with two recoveries and Davis put together a very notable stretch run.

Defensive Coordinator DeVone Claybrooks suggested that Davis would have been a shoo-in for the sack title if he had stayed healthy. As it was, he tied for third behind now former teammate Hughes and Victor Butler despite the shortened season.

Alongside Micah Johnson, Derek Wiggan, Randy Colling and Cordarro Law, re-signing Davis means the Stampeders are once again set to make every CFL QB keep their head on a swivel.

The Stampeders have led the loop the last two seasons in QB take-downs finishing with 50 and 52 respectively which is a big part of why the Stamps have also allowed the fewest points over that same time-span.

Davis is just the latest Stampeder to put his name on the dotted line in Calgary and Hufnagel has been hard at work this winter locking up key pieces of his two-time West Division Champion squad.

The Stamps are still likely waiting to see what happens with pending free agents DaVaris Daniels, Roy Finch, and Ciante Evans down south before committing big money elsewhere but have been chipping away slowly at a list that still includes national running back Jerome Messam, receiver Anthony Parker, and nearly the entire starting secondary short of Brandon Smith

Ryan Ballantine

Ryan Ballantine

Ryan is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.
Ryan Ballantine
Ryan Ballantine
About Ryan Ballantine (36 Articles)
Ryan is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.

29 Comments on Charleston Hughes trade makes sense but still sucks for Stamps fans

  1. Cal Gary Shampeders // February 2, 2018 at 11:19 pm //

    Look at the bright side. At least your Shampeders don’t have to worry about another embarrassing Grey Cup loss this season.

  2. It does hurt, just like when Nik Lewis left. I imagine Rider fans felt the same upon hearing Durant had been sent to Montreal, and Eskimo fans when Ricky Ray went to Toronto. The hard part is that Calgary has three divisional titles and a Grey Cup in the past four years, so the goal is to make little tweaks; you don’t want to lose big pieces.

  3. Well said!

  4. Lucky horseshoe // February 3, 2018 at 1:49 am //

    It’s no different than when we moved on from Henry Burris, Nik Lewis, Juawan Simpson or Keon Raymond.
    A provocative move for sure, but part of the cycle that keeps the Calgary Stampeders great!
    I’d worry more about a team that doesn’t make these type of moves. Those are the teams that hit a wall

    • Correct.Some of these moves have to be made even with popular players. The life of a successful G.M

  5. Hughes is a heart and soul Stampeder and one of a small number of wall of famers. It is tough to lose a guy like him. Though as Ryan said, it makes sense. He is 34. Davis is 27 and Law is 29 and both have less wear on their bodies. The Stamps also have Vaughters who in limited time as a backup got 6 sacks and is only 24.

    Every year the Stamps do this. In 2017, the Stamps lost Charbonneau Campeau, Dennis, Beltre, Berger, Bucknor, Grant and Love. In 2016, the Stamps lost Raymond, Simpson, Cornish, Chevrier, Bishop, Evans, Fuller, Rogers. So far in 2018, the Stamps have lost Richardson, Cote, Hughes, Bell and certainly more.

    It happens every year, and as long as a team is strong at recruiting, it can withstand losses, and Hufnagel has made the Stampeders the best recruiting team in the CFL. It will continue.

    • I think Huff got duped by Hamilton and had no knowledge of the 3 way trade. He wouldn’t have traded him within the division.

      • Riderontheisland // February 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm //

        I agree hitch. Theres no way he wanted him to end up down the highway. Hamilton made out well with Adams for a fourth rounder. In a year he could end up being the starter there

      • Huff wouldn’t have liked to trade him to a west team for sure,but he would have done it. His decision was made,period

  6. Meh. Hughes is now officially done. Sorry buddy. This isn’t your team. It isn’t Bo’s team. It sure as hell wasn’t Cornish’s team. It IS Huff’s team. He built this steamroller. And each piece only succeeds because of all the other pieces he put beside it, so that one piece, each piece, can excel. I don’t feel bad for the players losing the Cup, but I do feel bad for Huff – those boys let him down after all the work he has done.

    Anyway, Jones is eating Huff’s scraps. That’s better than winning the Cup.

    • Habsnriders // February 3, 2018 at 10:38 am //

      Jones eating huffs scraps is better than winning a grey cup? Wow spoken like a true stamp fan and calling a former great stamp player , scraps . I hope other stamp fans don’t agree with you .
      Safe to say that’s the worst post I have ever seen , and that’s saying a lot .

      • I don’t know what scraps you guys are talking about…when the ticats and then the riders were done, poor old Huff was just left spinning!!!

    • Riderontheisland // February 4, 2018 at 1:25 pm //

      Well Brad we’ll see who has the last laugh. I cant wait to meet yhe stamps and humble these grey cup failures. Huff has a winning program but not a championship one

      • I have to laugh at your comment. The Stamps have been in Grey Cups.where was your team???If the Stamps are failures what does that make your team ???? You know your team the one the Stamps have been beating to get to Grey Cups

  7. Huff was right to move him but Jones needs this guy to move to the next level he got a couple years left in him if he stays heathy and good mentor for the young guys on the team and Riders don’t have to play against him thats a plus for sure

  8. He was a force against the Riders. Didn’t he have 3 sacks (2 1/2 when it was official) in a first half against the Riders earlier in the season? Like the saying goes, “if you can’t beat em, trade for him!”

  9. Margaret Marshall // February 3, 2018 at 11:17 am //

    Welcome to Riderville Charleston. You will be spectacular in green and white. I agree with the concept that Hughes will still be a force while mentoring younger players. Riders do need to develop players to build a dynasty. Jones is on the right path.

    • Dynasty in regina???? LOL. It hasn’t even come close in 105 years of football,not even close.The least cups in the league for a reason

  10. Name 1 of those Canadians. In a year or two, name them again. Let’s see the impact. You don’t fill out a roster with any Canadians. They need to perform at a high level. Many u drafted Canadians have gone on to a decent career where most drafted have a short or no career. It was actually 2 Canadians as we recieved a pick from Montreal as well. One of Montreal’s pick is a 2019 3rd rounder. If he pans out, even as a starter, that’s 4 or 5 years away, that’s a big IF. Will Campbell even be in the CFL soon as his full attention right now is rugby.
    I’ll take a guarantee for low percentage potential. Hughes had 27 sacks the last 2 seasons. Great move by Jones.

  11. As any CFL fan knows it can be painful to say goodbye to a fan favorite, a leader in the community and a long time Stampeder. Hughes will become a fan favorite in Riderville quickly. To the Stamp fans I feel your pain but as we all know football is a business. All the best to Hughes in the future.

  12. JanetEManz // February 6, 2018 at 6:38 am //

    my Aunty Sarah just got silver Porsche Cayenne Diesel just by some part time working online with a macbook.
    check it out—>

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