Michael Wakefield is back. While the Redblacks have focused a lot on retaining their special teams players from last season. This included re-signing kicker Michael Domagala, punter Richie Leone, as well as their top defensive back and kick returner Brandin Dandridge. As of recently they have started to shift their focus toward the defense, re-signing defensive back Ty Cranston, defensive lineman/special teamer Nigel Romick, and now defensive lineman Michael Wakefield. Wakefield and the Redblacks have agreed to a one-year contract extension.
Michael Wakefield is a foundational player at the core of the Redblacks roster they can count on to keep coming back year after year. He began his career in Ottawa in 2017, playing there through 2019. He spent two years away in 2021, and 2022 with Montreal under Barron Miles before Montreal moved on from Miles. Wakefield would follow Miles back to Ottawa in 2023.
Michael Wakefield came into the 2023 season with 14 career sacks over five years in Ottawa and Montreal. He had never managed more than 4 in a single season, that was until 2023. During the 2023 season Wakefield started off hot, with 10 tackles, and four sacks in his first five games. His production tapered off as the year went on as he produced just 25 tackles and 2 sacks over his last 13 games. He also played in 18 games for the first time in his CFL Career which could be part of the reason why his production tapered off.
Wakefield is now 30 years old heading into his seventh CFL season looking to continue building on his success in 2023. He will be in his fourth season under defensive coordinator Barron Miles which should help him continue to be a bigger part of the defense going forward as well.
Free Agency Outlook
The Redblacks have steadily re-signed players in an effort to get ahead of free agency this offseason. While they have brought back core players who are very important to their success, there are still some very big name players that have yet to be extended. Justin Hardy, Devonte Williams, Lorenzo Mauldin IV, and Bralon Addison all still sit unsigned currently. There is still a lot of work to do, but so far I like that the team hasn’t re-signed every single free agent, and it looks like, at least as of now that the roster could still see a lot of turnover in 2024 which is necessary to build this team back into a winner in 2024 and beyond.
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