2023 CFL Free Agency officially opened on Valentine’s Day. To kick things off, the Toronto Argonauts have announced the signing of Montreal Alouettes Star linebacker Adarius Pickett. Toronto has also officially announced today the signing of Calgary Stampeders edge rusher Folarin Orimolade.
Double Blue has been mostly concentrated on retaining their own players this offseason. But they are certainly looking outside the organization for more reinforcements. Toronto’s defence is definitely going to have a new look in 2023.
In case you missed it. The Argonauts have traded their 2023 first-round pick, ninth overall, to the B.C. Lions for star national linebacker Jordan Williams. On top of the massive deal struck with now former Stampeders edge rusher Folin Orimolade. The two-year pact is expected to make Orimolade the highest-paid CFL DE at nearly 250k per season.
Today’s dual signing by Double Blue welcomes new impact players for the defensive side of the ball.
The addition of All-Star LB/DB Ardarius Pickett is a significant one. And is signaling a changing of the guard in Toronto’s defence, particularly at linebacker.
The 2022 Grey Cup MOP and future first-ballot hall of famer Henoc Muamba is looking to likely not be back with Toronto next season. The addition of Jordan Williams signifies a shift in the middle. Defensive player of the year candidate Wynton McManis is returning in 2023. But with the signing of Strongside linebacker Ardarius Pickett. That will probably spell the end of Chris Edwards’s bumpy but successful run in the Six.
“Pick6ixPickett” (a fitting nickname for his new digs) was considered by many CFL experts to be, pound for pound, one of the best free agents in the 2023 class. Pickett’s second season with the Als was a breakthrough. The 26-year-old LB/DB had 73 tackles, an interception, four sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles and fumble recoveries in 2022 as a Day 1 starter at the SAM linebacker spot. Pickett also found the end zone in a Week 19 victory over the Ottawa REDBLACKS.
Folarin Orimolade is a rising star in the CFL. Last season, he emerged with six sacks and led the league in QB pressures. The 27-year-old is just scratching the surface as a difference maker in the CFL and reunites with former position coach and current Argonauts defensive coordinator Corey Mace.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS SIGN AMERICAN DB ADARIUS PICKETT
TORONTO – The Toronto Argonauts Football Club announced today the team had signed American DB Adarius Pickett.
Pickett, 26, played 16 games for Montreal in 2022 and was voted the Alouettes Most Outstanding Defensive Player after recording 73 defensive tackles, seven special teams tackles, four sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. The 5’11, 210lb native of California came to the CFL after being signed by Montreal in June of 2021 and would play 14 games that season, tallying another 35 total tackles, one sack, one interception, and one forced fumble. The UCLA product spent 2019-2020 in the NFL with New England, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
ARGOS INK AMERICAN FOLARIN ORIMOLADE
TORONTO – The Toronto Argonauts Football Club announced today the team had signed American DL Folarin Orimolade.
Orimolade, 27, is coming off the best season of his CFL career after posting 37 defensive tackles, six sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and a touchdown in 17 games for the Stampeders. The 5’11, 238lb defensive lineman was a force in the playoffs, recording six tackles, two sacks, and one fumble recovery in the Western Semi-Final last season. The Washington, D.C. native signed with Calgary in 2018 and, throughout 34 games played, has produced 52 defensive tackles, 11 special teams tackles, ten sacks, one pick, and three forced fumbles. The Dartmouth product was a part of the 2018 Grey Cup champion Stampeders and chipped in with two special teams tackles and a fumble recovery in the big game.
Updated Argos Free Agency Outlook
The Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts have re-signed 14 of their 26 pending free agents. Most recently, re-upping with RBs Andrew Harris and A.J. Ouellete for the upcoming 2023 season. 12 Boatmen from the team’s 2022 championship roster have officially hit the open market in free agency.
Of most significance is what the Argos will do at quarterback. Reports have indicated that McLeod Bethel-Thompson is looking to play in Toronto again. But with starting spots at pivot drying up around the CFL. As evidenced by Bo Levi Mitchell taking the reins in Hamilton, Jeremiah Masoli re-upping in Ottawa, Cody Fajardo heading East for Montreal, and Trevor Harris bolting West for Saskatchewan. There aren’t many chairs left at quarterback.
An announcement or decision by Toronto at QB should come soon. The team has no plans of trading Chad Kelly, who is under contract with the Argos in an incentive-laden deal in 2023. But MBT would provide great veteran insurance, even if the eventual plan is to turn to the younger option.
Toronto could also be in the market for a WR. Depending on if Double Blue runs it back to Markeith Ambles or not. Some things have stayed the same in 2023 for the Argonauts. But change is always inevitable.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS UPDATED TRACKER OF 2023 FREE AGENTS
|AMOS DaShaun||A||DB||East Carolina||Re-Signed 2/5/23|
|BEDE Boris||A||K||Laval||Re-Signed 2/4/2023|
|BETHEL-THOMPSON McLeod||A||QB||Sacramento State|
|BRESCACIN Juwan||N||WR||Northern Iowa|
|CAGE Isiah||A||LB||Carleton||Extended 12/09/22|
|CALVER Brandon||N||FB/LB||McMaster||Extended 12/28/22|
|DANIEL Robertson||A||DB||Brigham Young||Extended 01/19/23|
|DANIELS DaVaris||A||WR||Notre Dame||Extended 2/5/23|
|DAVIS Ja’Gared||A||DL||Southern Methodist|
|GITTENS JR. Kurleigh||N||WR||Wilfrid Laurier||Re-Signed 2/3/23|
|HARRIS Andrew||N||RB||Nanaimo Raiders Jr.||Re-Signed 2/10/23|
|LATOUR Maxime||N||LS||Sherbrooke||Extended 12/6/22|
|MCMANIS Wynton||A||LB||Memphis||Re-Signed 2/4/23|
|METCHIE Royce||N||DB||Guelph||Re-Signed 2/3/23|
|MUAMBA Henoc||N||LB||St. Francis Xavier|
|OUELLETTE A.J.||A||RB||Ohio||Extended 2/11/23|
|ROGERS Eric||A||WR||California Lutheran|
|SMITH Robbie||N||DL||Wilfrid Laurier||Extended 01/27/23|
|TATE Trevon||A||OL||Memphis||Extended 12/09/22|
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