Redblacks’ releases create cap space and questions

On the surface, the Ottawa Redblacks’ decision to cut ties with three international receivers makes sense.

By releasing Quincy McDuffie, Kenny Shaw and Josh Stangby, the Redblacks free up a good chunk of cap space. McDuffie’s salary was rumoured to be north of $150,000. Shaw was heading into the final year of a contract that paid him more than $100,000. And even if Stangby was making the league minimum ($55,000), that’s still over $300,000 Ottawa suddenly has off the books.

Does Ottawa boast as deep a receiving corps today as it did yesterday? Of course not. But in the big scheme of things, losing McDuffie, Shaw and Stangby shouldn’t hurt what is still, on paper, a potent offence.

McDuffie arrived in Ottawa with big expectations. Fresh off a stint in the NFL, he was expected to be a game changer in the return game and a vertical threat. Instead, he struggled with injuries, playing in only six games, and was utterly overshadowed by Diontae Spencer’s late season explosion. In the end, McDuffie’s time in Ottawa can be summed up by his stat line. Three catches for 19 yards, 11 punt returns for 81 yards and 23 kick off returns for 467 yards.

While Shaw would’ve been a nice addition to the 2018 roster, the reality is he’s returning from a torn ACL. For a player best known for his quickness and speed, there’s no guarantee he’ll return to his 2016 form when he caught 77 passes for 1004 yards and five touchdowns.

As for Stangby, although he’s shown promise, at 27 years old, it’s fair to wonder if he’s hit his ceiling. Forty one receptions for 478 yards and five touchdowns is nothing to turn your nose at but it’s also not irreplaceable.

All that said, the decision to release the trio now should raise some eyebrows in R-Nation.

After all, had these transactions happened earlier in the off-season, perhaps Ottawa would’ve been able to afford to keep players like defensive lineman Zack Evans, linebacker Taylor Reed or even receiver Juron Criner.

By waiting until now, the Redblacks find themselves with a bunch of cap space when nearly every impact free agent is off the market.

But maybe GM Marcel Desjardins is simply setting the stage for another move.

Maybe now he has enough flexibility to entice 2016 3rd round pick defensive lineman Medhi Abdesmad to abandon his NFL dreams and head north. Inking Abdesmad would fill the last real hole remaining on Ottawa’s revamped defence.

Maybe he’s freeing up space to bring back a player like Canadian defensive lineman Arnaud Gascon-Nadon or defensive back Jerrell Gavins or to swing a trade.

Or perhaps the whole thing is simply a case of Ottawa needing to balance the books and cutting three players from a position of strength. Even following today’s moves, the Redblacks still have thirteen receivers on their roster.

National receivers:

Brad Sinopoli
Julian Feoli-Gudino
Austin Reuland
Austen Hartley

International receivers:

Greg Ellingson
Diontae Spencer
Dominique Rhymes
*Noel Thomas
*R.J. Shelton
*Jhajuan Seales
*Richard Mullaney
*Lance Evans
*Romond Deloatch
*Denotes a rookie who has never caught a CFL pass

In spite of the fact that Ottawa is losing experience and depth with the release of McDuffie, Shaw and Stangby, their departures open the door to a group of intriguing rookie receivers. It also raises the possibility of the Redblacks starting two Canadian receivers, though they’d need to bolster their Canadian pass-catching depth in the upcoming draft.

In the end, R-Nation will have to wait and see how Desjardins decides to use his new cap space.

Santino Filoso

Santino Filoso

Born and raised in the 613, Santino has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know.)
Santino Filoso
Santino Filoso
About Santino Filoso (225 Articles)
Born and raised in the 613, Santino has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know.)

21 Comments on Redblacks’ releases create cap space and questions

  1. rogieshan // April 3, 2018 at 7:50 pm //

    And let’s not forget, last we checked, Henoc Muamba is still out there.

  2. Can not believe this….Ottawa in talks with obtaining Johnnie football with a pay grade of offering him 350,000….heard it on a Texas sports radio station yesterday morning. But they would say who Hamilton was talking to

    • Als Fan // April 4, 2018 at 9:18 am //

      Why would they pick up Box wine Johnny when they have a solid quarterback in Harris for a guy who will probably play terribly in the CFL for one year intending to jump to the AAF next year & eventually the XFL in 2020 when he burns his bridges in the AAF. Silly rumour.

  3. This better be a belated April fools joke !!!

  4. CFL family // April 3, 2018 at 8:26 pm //

    There should be another team who needs to purge very soon….

    • Green&Gold // April 3, 2018 at 9:10 pm //

      Yeah. I think we have something like 14 receivers and 7 running backs on the roster. Maas will have to do some trimming.

    • greenenvy? // April 4, 2018 at 12:48 pm //

      Let’s not get excited. ALL the teams are overloaded & carrying a lot of players who won’t be around when the bullets fly. Wpg lists 22 DB’s on their roster, BC 17 receivers, Riders 16 receivers & 13 on OL. Edm, same thing. Bloated rosters at this time of year is no surprise. I can see why they were released based upon Filoso’s argument but depth to me is not about how many bodies you have at a position but can they play? EVERYBODY has rookies who were great college players. Having 7 rookies behind Ellingson only means at least 4 of them won’t be around come game 1, probably more as they add bodies from camps.

      • greenenvy? // April 4, 2018 at 12:56 pm //

        Should note, teams can carry maximum 85 contract players on roster till April 30, down to 75 standard contracts on May 1. Training camp minimum 68, max 75 plus non-counters like junior players. Without checking it out, I would think most teams are up in the 80-85 players right now. If Ottawa wasn’t going to use this trio, they’d be cutting them sometime this month anyway. I don’t believe you HAVE to be under the CAP every day of the year but there are deadlines for hitting the CAP. Not exactly an expert in this area.

  5. Paul Bomber // April 3, 2018 at 8:43 pm //

    Wrong guys… Ottawa had to dump that bum Sinopoli. He’s a boat anchor that will SINK Ottawa. Smart thing to do would be to trade him to Winnipeg. The advice is free and your’re welcome, Desjardins.

    • LOL – yea that’s funny. Every team would like to get Sinopoli. The best Canadian receiver I’ve ever seen.

      • You must be too young to remember Ray Elgard in Sask or Tony Gabriel in Hamilton. Sinopoli is good but not the greatest.

        • MJ Bandit // April 5, 2018 at 10:41 pm //

          Yeah – Sinoploi has 3 straight CFL 1000 yard receiving seasons – but best all-time? – not even close.

          Gabriel, Elgaard, Cahoon (even if some consider him not a real Canadian), Masotti, Climie, Poplawski, Terry Evanshen, Jim Young, Whit Tucker, Sapunjis, Clermont – so many great ones. I’d love to see Brad continue to play and move into their company though.

  6. bill dehoog // April 3, 2018 at 8:52 pm //

    i think you will some new signings soon. Hope Johnny isn’t one of them. Expect defensive help soon

  7. Edward Leslie // April 4, 2018 at 12:17 am //

    LOL Nice try, Paul.

  8. Edward Leslie // April 4, 2018 at 12:33 am //

    It’s easy to speculate that they are clearing cap room to sign a name player such as Muamba, or even Manziel. However, I think its just a method to make the Redblacks a little more cap flexible.

    As the article mentioned, they might want to sign some of their own unsigned free agents, like Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, Jerrell Gavins or Serderius Bryant. Maybe even bring back Drew Tate, at a more modest salary. And they also need to plan for the draft and free agent camps too. Isn’t there an off season player limit that they can have on the roster? I think its 75.

    • They are still stacked at WR, the new guy Romond Deloatch is listed at 6’4″ and 245 lbs !!
      The other 6 rookies are all over 6’2″
      Marcel knows how to spot talent. Muamba is a possibility, Manziel? I don’t think so, I’m sure the Argos or the Als need him to sell tickets.

      • Als Fan // April 4, 2018 at 9:20 am //

        Montreal already has a cancer in the GM role. We don’t need one in the QB position as well.

  9. Edward Leslie, I am replying to your blog, but I have to whisper, so that the other ED doesn’t hear us talking about Canadian players. You may be right about clearing cap space for Muamba. He will play someplace…he is just another one of those “useless” (NOT!) Canuck players, who can play as well as any imports.
    Ed thinks Canucks can’t play, and says seats are empty because of them. I told him that Toronto and BC attendance suffers because of growing immigrant populations, who follow soccer, and kids who are glued to their phones. Interestingly, today, in Rod Pedersens blog, he said the same thing…not rocket science…it is so obvious to anyone who follows our game. But, I digress…how much do you think Muamba is worth? He has good pursuit to the ball, but doesn’t have the speed to back-pedal into coverage, if necessary. Probably, he is asking for too much money.

    • MJ Bandit // April 5, 2018 at 10:35 pm //

      You seem a bit obsessed with replying to Ed types – who clearly have zero clue about Canadian football and spout ignorant, biased, fairy-tale like cliches that they got sold from somewhere?

      You’re just encouraging these clueless trolls – seems to me anyways – and it’s not worth responding to somebody who can’t put forth even a half-way sensible or literate/understandable argument. Just IMO.

  10. Edward Leslie // April 7, 2018 at 1:47 am //

    The CFL probably needs to try and sell their brand of football to immigrants, who are unfamiliar with it. They can’t just their back on that large demographic.
    Special promotions and tutorials would be a good step.
    Players like Henoc Muamba (The Congo), Lirim Hajrullahu (Bosnia) Josh Bartel (Australia) and Roman Grozman (Israel) all are considered nationals, but originally are from outside of North America. They have interesting stories that appeal to people from other nations, as well as to Canadians.
    They should be promoted.
    I think most people take pride in their national or ethnic background. As we both mentioned, it’s a shame that some people who post on here aren’t proud to be Canadians.

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