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CFL Matchmaker: Finding a partner for the league's top free agents

Relationships are a beautiful thing. Like the relationship, for example, between a football player and his team. When things are going well, the player contributes to the team by putting forward a solid effort. He is rewarded by collecting a pay check.

But, sometimes things change.

The relationship starts to run its course. The team may become dissatisfied with the player’s attitude, or the player may become unhappy with the treatment he is receiving from the team. Furthermore, the player may become too old for the team. This usually results in the player getting released.

In the CFL, there are currently some top notch free agents out there. With that being said, here is an attempt to match them up with a new partner.

Jesse Lumsden – Running Back (Career: 1,802 yards, nine touchdowns and a 6.3 average)
CFL Matchmaker: Toronto Argonauts

Yes, Lumsden has had an injury-filled career. However, it couldn’t hurt Toronto to take a chance on Lumsden. As it stands, the Argos don’t even have a running back on their team that rushed for over 100 yards last season, thanks to the departure of 1,000 yard rusher Jamal Robertson. Lumsden has been effective when not injured. In 2007, he rushed for 743 yards and averaged 7.6 yards a carry. More than that, Lumdsen is only 27 years old and still has the will to play. Toronto would not have to pay a ton of money to bring in Lumsden and the potential rewards could be great.

Zeke Moreno – Middle Linebacker (Career: 306 tackles, six sacks and five interceptions)
CFL Matchmaker: Calgary Stampeders

With the retirement of Tim Johnson this off-season, and a linebacking core that is far from solid, Calgary could really benefit from adding a shutdown linebacker like Moreno. Moreno could step in nicely for Johnson, who had 54 tackles and a sack last season for Calgary. Moreno started his CFL career with the Hamilton Tiger Cats in 2007 and was named an all-star in his first two years. Moreno, who has averaged over 100 tackles a season, would add some punch to Calgary’s defence, which allowed 123 rushing yards a game last season.

Fred Perry – Defensive End (Career: 315 tackles, 62 sacks and 46 special teams’ tackles)
CFL Matchmaker: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Riders are in need of a starting defensive end. Why not bring back the defensive end that had great success in Saskatchewan? Perry, a ten year veteran and two-time CFL all-star, was a dominant force during his three year tenure with the Riders. He recorded 159 tackles and 33 sacks and was part of Saskatchewan’s 2007 Grey Cup team. The Riders lost defensive ends John Chick, who had 32 tackles and 11 sacks last season, as well as Stevie Baggs, who recorded 55 tackles and 12 sacks last season. Though Perry is 35, he could provide some veteran leadership on the defensive line.

Reggie Hunt – Middle/Outside Linebacker (Career: 514 tackles, 28 sacks and eight interceptions)
CFL Matchmaker: B.C. Lions

Hunt signing in B.C. makes a lot of sense. First of all, Hunt is the older brother of Aaron Hunt, the Lions star defensive tackle. Secondly, B.C.’s run defence was horrid last season, they gave up 138 rushing yards a game, and they could use a solid middle linebacker to play next to Anton Mackenzie. After Mackenzie, who tallied 85 tackles and six sacks last season, the Lions don’t have a proven linebacker. Hunt is a solid veteran.

Siddeeq Shabazz – Middle/Outside Linebacker (Career: 212 tackles, seven sacks and five interceptions)
CFL Matchmaker: Montreal Alouettes

While the Alouettes have one of the deepest rosters in the CFL, they could afford to add a solid linebacker to the mix. Shabazz would compliment current linebackers Chip Cox and Shea Emry. He has averaged 71 tackles, two sacks and nearly two interceptions a season. Another thing to consider is the fact Shabazz holds a grudge against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who released him, and Montreal plays them three times this season.

Kelly Malveaux – Defensive Back (Career: 461 tackles, 17 interceptions and six sacks)
CFL Matchmaker: Hamilton Tiger Cats

After trading away solid defensive back Chris Thompson this off-season, the Tiger Cats could use some depth in the defensive backfield. Though Hamilton’s defense improved greatly last season, they did allow 24 points a game. The Tiger Cats have a solid front seven but the defensive backfield has always been an area of concern for them. If Hamilton hopes to compete with Montreal, who has a group of deadly receivers, they will need good defensive backs.

Kerry Joseph – Quarterback (Career: 24,831 yards, 130 touchdowns and a 58.5 completion percentage)
CFL Matchmaker: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

While the Bombers already added pivots Buck Pierce and Steven Jyles in the off-season, it wouldn’t hurt to give Joseph a look. Pierce has had a history of injuries and Jyles is an unproven quarterback. Joseph is the league’s former Most Outstanding Player and could challenge Pierce and Jyles for the starting position. If he fails to get the position, Joseph could serve as reliable backup for a team that ran into quarterback troubles last season.

Kenton Keith – Running Back (Career: 3,913 yards, 21 touchdowns and a 6.1 average)
CFL Matchmaker: Saskatchewan Roughriders

During his time in the CFL, Keith has found his most success with the Riders. During his four year stint with the team, Keith rushed for 3,811 yards and 21 touchdowns. The Riders have question marks in the backfield currently. Wes Cates was the only starting running back last season not to rush for 1,000 yards. Behind Cates, the Riders have Dominique Dorsey, Hugh Charles and Stuart Foord. These three running backs are explosive, but have not seen a ton of time in the backfield.

Ian Smart – Running Back/Kick Returner (Career: 318 yards, three touchdowns and a 5.8 average)
CFL Matchmaker: Toronto Argonauts

Since the Argos did not bring back Dorsey, their special teams’ demon, in the off-season, they need a good return man. Smart was the CFL’s most outstanding special team’s player in 2007. Furthermore, he could be used as a running back on occasion, giving Toronto depth at that position. Smart could help the Argos win the field position battle, something that will be important with their inexperienced offence.

Jerome Haywood – Defensive Tackle (Career: 232 tackles, 31 sacks and one special teams’ tackle)
CFL Matchmaker: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Since Saskatchewan did not draft a defensive tackle in the CFL draft, they may want to give Haywood a look. At around 280 pounds, Haywood can certainly dominate the line of scrimmage.  This would help the Riders, who gave up 124 rushing yards a game last season. While Marcus Adams and Keith Shologan appear to be the starting defensive tackles going into camp for the Riders, the veteran Haywood could push them in training camp. 
 

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