Over the past week, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ front office has been busy preparing for the 2022 season. As I alluded to in my last article, they’ve done a great job at keeping the core together, and things have only gotten better since.
A major relief was the return of linebacker Simoni Lawrence, even if it wasn’t much of a surprise. Lawrence was the team’s best player last year, and arguably one of the best in the CFL. He’s been a leader in Hamilton over the past seven seasons, which will now continue into an eighth. In 2021 (including playoffs), Lawrence recorded 85 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 interceptions, and a career-high 2 defensive touchdowns.
Other players that will return to Hamilton in 2022 include RB Don Jackson, WR Steven Dunbar Jr, LB Jovan Santos-Knox, DB Cariel Brooks, and DL Dylan Wynn. On top of the extensions, there are a few new faces as well, such as wideout Lemar Durant. The Vancouver native has spent time with both the Stampeders and Lions since being drafted in 2015, and will now look to fill part of the hole that Brandon Banks left behind. Over six seasons, Durant has caught 183 passes for 2,353 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The most recent additions to the team are a pair of American quarterbacks: Matthew Shiltz and Jamie Newman. Shiltz had been a career backup in Montreal since 2017, but saw increased playing time last season following an injury to Vernon Adams. Although Shiltz performed well enough to keep the starting job (until Adams returned), the Alouettes traded for Trevor Harris, who simply had more upside and experience. Newman, on the other hand, is beginning his first stint in the CFL. Newman had been on the Tiger-Cats’ negotiation list last year, and the two sides have now agreed to a contract. The 24-year-old previously spent time at both Wake Forest and Georgia, joining the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2021.
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