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Redblacks Sign Tarvarus McFadden, Release Three Including QB Jake Dunniway 

The Redblacks have opened up two roster spots in anticipation of a return by Justin Howell and Tyrie Adams who were full participants in practice Sunday. Only two players appeared on the injury report as limited in any capacity; defensive lineman Aidan John, and linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox. 


Quarterback Carousel Keeps Turning 

Dunniway being released was a foregone conclusion once one of the injured veteran quarterbacks for Ottawa returned. It became only a matter of time last week when both players participated in practice. Now it’s become a reality with Adams fully ready to return to the field roughly 11 months removed from tearing his ACL last July. 

Adams could immediately step into the 2nd quarterback role ahead of Dustin Crum who only became the starter due to the injury Adams faced. The Redblacks have now had Adams on the roster for over two years, outside of Masoli he is the most veteran backup quarterback on the roster. 

Revolving Door at Defensive Back 

The Redblacks continue to seek out the right combination of players in the secondary. The latest addition comes with a Grey Cup win and a 16-2 season on his resume. Tarvarus McFadden is just the latest former member of the Argonauts to join Ottawa following Assistant Director of US Scouting Alex Russell, DB/LB Ardarius Pickett, and OL Dariusz Bladek. 

McFadden is a Florida State product who went unselected in the 2018 NFL Draft. He found interest from multiple NFL teams ultimately spending time with San Francisco, Indianapolis, and Detroit. Shortly after being released by Detroit he looked to alternative options joining the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL. 

The 6’2 200 lb defensive back managed to become a starter for the Vipers immediately. He would produce 10 tackles, 2 interceptions for 78 yards, and 1 touchdown making the mid-season All-XFL team. After the XFL folded it took almost a year for the former FSU player who once logged 7 interceptions to find his next team. In April of 2021, Toronto signed McFadden for the first time. 

He ultimately got released only to return to the practice roster and finish out the season there. He returned for 2022 earning a starting job for a Grey Cup run. Starting 17 of 18 games he managed 42 tackles, adding 2 more interceptions for 28 yards. Toronto must have liked what they saw because he returned in 2023 and again started the majority of the games, although he would miss three games. 

It should come as no surprise Ottawa made this move given his ties to Toronto, and the way they have turned over this roster all off-season. While he was initially signed to the practice roster I have a feeling this is to give him a week or two to learn the playbook before they elevate him to the active foster. It’s not often you can go out and sign experienced starting-caliber players in week three. At this point, McFadden has started 33 games between the XFL, and CFL adding another veteran option to a slowly improving secondary. 

Players Released

-Jake Dunniway, QB

-Winston Rose, DB

-Tj Rayum, DL 

Rose and Rayum have only been with the team for a short time. Rayum was signed last week during the week 1 bye for Ottawa. Rose was signed on June 11th. Now Rose and Rayum are both let go less than a week later. With McFadden being signed, while Justin Howell and Tyrie Adams are now healthy it appears the Redblacks will likely be moving them back to the active roster in advance of week three. 

Another roster move to note is that Bennett Williams the back-up strongside linebacker behind Ardarius Pickett was moved to the practice roster. While McFadden has primarily played outside cornerback, he does have the size and tools to line up at linebacker if Barron Miles wanted to get creative. This allows them more flexibility to elevate McFadden if he appears ready by next weekend. 

Speculation on Another Potential Big Move

Another name to watch given his recent release is Shawn Oakman. Oakman was once expected to break the bank for teams, but he ultimately found a very lean market. This left him to return to Toronto where he reportedly wanted to return anyway. This return was short-lived as Toronto released him after week one. 

While the Redblacks don’t necessarily need another pass rusher, Aidan John didn’t practice Sunday, Daniel Okpoko just came back from injury, DeShawn Stevens was placed on the injured list, and Rayum was released. At 6’9 287 pounds Oakman can play inside or outside and would add another pass-rush element to this defensive line that could make them unstoppable. 

Given Oakman’s lack of interest earlier this offseason, and subsequent release by the Argonauts may drive his asking price low enough for Ottawa to grab one last impact player. 

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Sam Just Reporter
I am a writer and content creator focusing on alternative football leagues like the UFL, CFL, AFL, IFL, NAL, and AIF. If you like alternative football leagues, check out my personal platform Shady Sports Network on YouTube and all your favorite social media platforms.
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