Montreal has gone against the grain, focusing on resigning their own players to extensions rather than worrying about bringing in outside free agents prior to the beginning of the free agency period. This is a practice several good teams have used in the past. Rather than going outside the organization and trying to find players that mesh with the roster already in place, they are focused on retaining the men who have proven themselves already on the roster.
With that in mind I wanted to discuss the members of the team that have been extended heading into the 2022 season. I have already touched on the fact that Jake Weineke, has agreed to terms on an extension to return in 2022 in a previous article which is linked below. However, Montreal didn’t stop there.
Resigning RB William Stanback, LB Chris Ackie, DB Kerfalla Exume’, and OL Chris Schleuger were key moves to the success of the Allouettes moving forward in 2022 and beyond.
The first move extending the contract of William Stanback was a huge deal for the Allouettes. Stanback led the league in rushing yards in 2021. Producing six 100+ yard games, and a total of 1,290 yards of offense. Stanback is 27 years old but headed into just his 4th season in the CFL, all of which he has spent with Montreal.
In his three previous seasons he was able to play in 42 games collecting 444 carries for 2,762 yards and 8 tds, catching 74 of 100 targets, 756 yards and another 2 touchdowns. In a smaller league where name value is hard to earn when players move around as much as they do retain a fan favorite like William Stanback for another season was huge. Stanback was already signed through the 2022 season but signed a 1-year extension keeping him in Montreal through the 2023 season.
American offensive lineman Chris Schleuger was just a two-year starter in college. He played in 24 games starting 18 of them split between two schools. After he left college, he tried his hand in the NFL, landing with the Steelers in 2018.
The stay was short lived as he never appeared in a game for the NFL squad, and ultimately found himself in the CFL by 2019. Schleuger is another American born player whose entire Canadian Football career has come with the Montreal Allouettes. In 2019 he came in and started 13 games as a CFL rookie, and in 2021 he returned to play in 3 games and start 2 in 2021. Schleuger is a team first guy who has experience at center and left tackle serving as the 6th lineman off the bench in 2021. He will return to Montreal for the 2022 season to compete for more snaps in camp.
On the defensive side of the ball, they have retained linebacker Chris Ackie. Ackie is another key veteran piece of this team having led the defense in tackles in 2021. He will be 30 years old during the 2022 season. While Ackie is a Canadian National player, he tried his hand at the NFL in 2015, but was unable to latch on with the Giants, after attending a rookie minicamp. He would go on to be selected 4th overall by Montreal in the CFL draft.
The 6’2 218 lb linebacker signed a three-year contract following the draft and showed his versatility playing both outside linebacker positions and contributing on special teams. During his first four seasons in Montreal, he played in 48 games, notching 86 defensive tackles, 22 special teams tackles, forced four fumbles, intercepted 1 pass, and collected 1 QB sack. Prior to the 2018 season Montreal traded him to Ottawa for a 2nd round pick. He would finish out the season in Ottawa before hitting free agency prior to the 2019 season. He held out waiting for injuries to pile up and garner him more interest. After Montreal suffered injuries to two key players, they resigned Ackie once again.
His contract would expire following the 2019 season, he signed on with the Toronto Argonauts prior to the season being cancelled. He would ultimately never appear in a game for Toronto with his contract expiring following 2020 and he found himself back in Montreal once again. Now before he can test free agency once again, he decided to sign an extension to remain with the Alouettes where he has played the majority of his career.
The last name was Kerfalla Exume’. Exume’ is a Canadian National player, who was drafted in round 8 of the 2019 CFL draft by Winnipeg. He spent the 2019, and 2020 seasons on Winnipeg’s roster before landing with Montreal. He was a part of the 2019 Grey Cup Championship Blue Bombers team. He hit free agency at 26 years old following the 2020 cancellation.
With just 18 games on his resume, he was signed by Montreal as a free agent to add depth and contribute on special teams. In 2019 he played 18 games racking up 25 special team tackles for Winnipeg, in 2021 he played in 14 games racking up 15 special teams’ tackles, adding just 3 tackles on defense. Exume has experience at cornerback and safety increasing his value to Montreal in 2022.
However, the Allouettes have made one move to bring in an outside player. This particular player is a developmental American QB. Davis Alexander is not going to be a household name even for fans based in America. He played his college career for Portland State University. Alexander is a dual threat QB who managed over 10,000 all purpose yards in just 4 seasons as a starter, including 8,876 yards as a passer.
At 5’11 195 lbs he has less than ideal size and was likely never going to get true consideration as a QB at the NFL level despite his gaudy statistics at the college level. Coming from a small school, Alexander is the exact type of QB who typically finds success in the CFL if given the time to develop.
Alexander’s stats were good enough for second in school history despite suffering through a pandemic shortened 2020 season that allowed him to play in just 1 game stunting the statistics he would have otherwise put up had he been able to play a full season. However, the rookie QB displayed the ability to protect the ball scoring 58 passing tds, and 23 rushing tds to just 27 ints. You can see what he is capable of in the video below.
So, for all of those fans out there wondering why we haven’t seen the Allouettes jump out and spend money left, right and center, this is exactly why. They had key free agents in house that they felt the need to retain before they worried about adding pieces to their stacked roster that has won 17 games over the last two seasons and produced two playoff trips. Free agents with big names win headlines, not games and the Allouettes are showing they know this by focusing on their own first.
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