With the news of losing their franchise quarterback still fresh, the BC Lions front office is back to business. The team has put pen to paper with two receivers and a defensive back.
Jared Smart, 23, was most recently with the Arizona Cardinals organization. After impressing at rookie mini-camp he signed with the team in May 2022. Being an undrafted free agent didn’t work in his favour and he was released in late July. Smart is an above average route runner with an ability to rack up yards after the catch. His penchant for making highlight reel catches reminds me of a recently retired BC Lion.
Justice Murphy, 23, is a native of the other Vancouver in Washington. His first season of post-secondary was at Riverside Community College in California. After a season at RCC he would transfer to Western Oregon afterwards, playing from 2019-2021. The numbers he put up in college were very minimal. With the signings of him and Smart the Lions now have 12 receivers under contract. Not included are Canadians Shai Ross and Jacob Scarfone who are pending free agents.
Soon to be 25-year old Christian Uphoff may be the steal of the trio. At 6’3, 209 pounds with great agility he can be used at SAM Linebacker or placed at Safety or Halfback. In his last season at Illinois State he truly impressed as Safety. With the loss of All-Star Safety Loucheiz Purifoy, the Lions may have found an immediate replacement. He started his career at Illinois State as a Kick Returner, which demonstrates his versatility. He was one of the final cuts of the Green Bay Packers this past season.
With Nathan Rourke’s decision finally known the Lions can now move forward. Head Coach Rick Campbell didn’t hesitate in saying that the team is satisfied with Vernon Adams Jr as the starter. Look for a veteran back-up to be added via free agency. There are still big question marks with the Leos own pending free agents. On defence the secondary and linebacker units need to be addressed. On offence vital running backs and linemen remain without contracts. Below is a complete list of pending free agents.
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