Douglas Coleman III was already set to be a free agent this offseason, and there was always the possibility after the season he had that another team would see his value. Well that team happens to be the Chicago Bears of the NFL. Almost immediately after news broke that Matt Eburflus would be retained as head coach, it came out that Coleman III was signed to a contract with Chicago.
Another Hole to Fill
This does leave the Redblacks with a hole at their SAM linebacker position after watching Coleman III flourish in that role in 2023. While they have some candidates for this position on the roster, it remains to be seen if any of those players can fill this role or if they go out and bring in a free agent. Deandre Lamont, James Peters, and Josh White could all see some snaps here in camp to see if the team has someone who can step in on the roster.
When needed at times last season Lamont started in place of Coleman at SAM linebacker. He played fairly well in this role when called upon. He started against Montreal on August 19th, and collected 6 tackles on the day. In late September against the Saskatchewan Roughriders Lamont snared two interceptions and 3 tackles. Lamont was a rookie in 2023, seeing snaps in 11 games while learning this SAM position in the CFL was invaluable. He should be ready to step in and start in 2024 if he can fend off the competition. Remember, the Redblacks took a similar approach with Douglas Coleman III as a rotational player at SAM before he took over the starting job in 2023.
James Peters is a guy I think could play the position and the team could get by, but he is likely slightly less athletic than the team is looking for at the position. In 2022 it was Patrick Levels, and in 2023 it was Douglas Coleman III. Both men are around 6’0 and 200 pounds, while Peters is 5’10 220 pounds and is likely a more natural fit at the MIKE linebacker spot in the CFL. Peters is certainly in line for more defensive snaps after his rookie season saw him primarily focus on special teams logging 5 tackles.
Josh White is a candidate to play the position in 2024, but being that he is a true rookie who didn’t join the team until after finishing up his final season in college. Drafted in the 3rd round last season, he played primarily WILL linebacker in college, and it’s possible that we see Ottawa lean on this experience and allow him to stay there, but then they would have brought in two WILL linebackers in last year’s draft alone with Lucas Corimer also there, perhaps Corimer could also see snaps at SAM.
In theory the Redblacks could even reach back out to Patrick Levels to see if he wants to return to his old position once again. He did not suit up in 2023, and could be looking to make a return in 2024.
Congratulations to Douglas Coleman III for signing with the Bears for the 2024 season. While there is still a chance Coleman III does not make the Bears roster or practice squad, he opted to take the chance after a stellar season in the CFL. The more opportunities like this the Redblacks can help provide for kids who never got a real shot in the NFL. Coleman had a cup of coffee with the Broncos, but never got to participate in preseason games and really showcase what he could do in the NFL setting. Lets hope for Coleman’s sake and Ottawa’s he gets to change that in 2024, and shows the kind of talent Ottawa has been able to develop.
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