Will the Allouettes be able to retain offensive star Jake Weineke for the 2022 season? Its looking more and more like the 6’4 receiver will test free agency potentially weighing his options in the NFL as well. Weineke turned heads in 2021 after scoring 11 times. This is a guy who led Montreal in touchdowns as a rookie in 2019 with 8 as well. Good for fifth in the league. Weineke has paced the league with 19 touchdowns in two seasons proving his rookie season was no fluke. The Allouettes are probably disappointed they weren’t able to sign him to a longer extension before the 2021 season when he signed a 1 year extension. Now with every team in the league seeing his proficiency in the redzone including NFL teams it remains to be seen where he lands in 2022.
The Allouettes realize the conundrum they are in which led them to extend receivers Dante Absher, and Mario Allford. However these two men combined for just 6 receptions on 11 targets last season so it doesn’t appear those two will be tasked with carrying his load. Maybe they are counting on veterans Bj Cunningham, and Quan Bray to step up once again opting to distribute the funds Weineke would command elsewhere.
Quan Bray caught 35 of 60 targets for 481 yards and 2 touchdowns but fell off from the marks he produced in 2019 likely due to the emergence of Weineke. In 2019 Bray caught 58 of 83 targets racking up 818 yards and 6 tds. Not a bad fallback option as a number 2 receiver when you still have a guy like Eugene Lewis as your top target and Bj Cunningham to take up the 3rd role.
Bj Cunningham is also no slouch at wideout albeit its been a couple years since he produced at a starting level. Then again this 6 year veteran has had to battle the development of Eugene Lewis, Quan Bray, Jake Weineke and others taking targets. From 2016-2018 prior to the arrival of Bray, and Weineke, Cunningham had no less than 52 receptions, 85 targets, 631 yards and 3 tds. In 2017 he had a career year with 120 targets, 69 receptions, 1,128 yards and 4 touchdowns. The issue with Cunningham is he is currently a free agent as well. Their hopes of resigning Bj are much more realistic and obviously much cheaper. With that being said Toronto is by no means desperate to sign Weineke, but no one currently on the roster has produced like him outside of Eugene Lewis.
So far Montreal was able to sign a couple of young free agent wideouts in American Craig Rucker, and National Ente Eguavoen. Rucker is a 5’7 160 lb CFL rookie coming out of Mars Hill University in the South Atlantic Conference. He was extremely prolific in his career a trend that continued until his senior season in 2019. In 2019 he was able to catch 97 passes for 1,325 yards and 15 touchdowns bringing his impressive numbers to 4,320 yards and 43 touchdown showing his knack for finding the endzone despite a relative lack of size. He went to training camp with Toronto in 2021 but didn’t make the roster out of camp. I have a feeling things will be different this season if they lose Cunningham or Weineke they need guys who can score, and Rucker is no stranger to the endzone.
Eguavoen is an interesting find. He didn’t catch a ton of passes in his final collegiate season but on his 35 receptions he produced 488 yards and 3 tds producing just under 14 yards per reception. He also adds value as a return man in 2022 as a rookie trying to find his way onto a deep roster. The 6’0 175 lb wideout reminds me a lot of Devonta Smith the 2nd year NFL receiver with the Eagles. They both have speed to spare, and a tall slender frame that scares me at the professional level when he will be regularly facing hits from 250 pound linebackers, and 210 lb safeties at the CFL level. Smith proved me wrong in 2021, can Eguavoen do the same in 2022?
The Allouettes have done a good job of bringing back current players resigning the afformentioned Absher, Alford, and Lewis at wideout, running back Alexandre Gagne, Offensive lineman David Brown, defensive lineman Nick Usher, and Defensive back Najee Murray. However they’re not out of the woods yet with a total of 19 players left on the impending free agent list. Including two big time wide receivers in Bj Cunningham, and the big fish Jake Weineke.
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