WINNIPEG – To the surprise of very few, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have not been big spenders this year in free agency.
Coming off their best season in five years, the Bombers figured to stand pat over the first few days of free agency before focusing on a defense that had some leaks in 2016.
Now they have started working on that, re-signing linebacker Sam Hurl and inking internationals Will Smith, a linebacker who played two games in Winnipeg in 2014, and Sam Brown, a defensive back. They also signed quarterback Dan LeFevour.
After a big 2015, Hurl, 26, dealt with some injury problems last year. He played in 12 games, making seven defensive tackles and eight special teams tackles. The previous year he made 52 tackles, had 5 sacks, two picks and a forced fumble.
The Bombers are set at quarterback with Matt Nichols behind centre, but wanted to add some stability with LeFevour. He’s a five-year CFL vet, known for his legs more than his arm, with stops already in Hamilton, Montreal and Toronto.
He started three games for the Argos last year, throwing for five touchdowns and rushing for 11. He’ll compete for the backup position with Dominique Davis.
Smith, 25, made a name for himself with a big senior season at Texas Tech in 2014, racking up a team-leading 120 tackles and earning a first-team All Big 12 honour. He was drafted in the 7th round of the NFL Draft that year by Dallas but was released.
He then came north to Winnipeg in October 2014, playing in a pair of games and making three tackles. Smith was then released to rejoin the Cowboys, where he was again cut. He also played 11 games with Hamilton last year.
Brown, 24, played four seasons at Missouri Western State. He was not drafted by an NFL team but spent part of last season with the Baltimore Ravens.
Photo courtesy CFL