The Montreal Alouettes are the latest CFL team to let go of a veteran, as they cut ties with receiver Ernest Jackson on Sunday. Jackson had been with the Als for each of the last two seasons.
This puts an end to a disappointing two-year tenure with the Alouettes for the 32-year-old. Unfortunately for both sides, Jackson never emerged as the number one receiver the team expected him to be. He finished the 2017 season with 60 receptions, 767 yards and six touchdowns. He followed that up with 52 catches, 642 yards and one touchdown last season.
Despite his inconsistent play over the last two years, the Alouettes decided to give the veteran a one-year extension during the off-season. According to sources, the new contract wasn’t nearly as lucrative as his first deal with Montreal which means it was probably a low-risk move for the team.
But in fairness to Jackson, the lack of stability at the quarterback position didn’t help him or any of the other receivers on the team. During his two seasons in Montreal, Jackson played with seven different starting quarterbacks (Antonio Pipkin, Johnny Manziel, Jeff Mathews, Vernon Adams, Matthew Shiltz, Drew Willy, and Darian Durant). Any receiver would have a difficult time living up to expectations when there’s that much turnover at quarterback.
So, it’s time to tackle this big question: Why did the Alouettes decide to make this move on the first day of training camp?
First, it’s important to realize that they aren’t the only team that’s cut a big-name player over the last few days/weeks. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats released starting running back Alex Green and defensive end Justin Capicciotti. The Toronto Argonauts cut offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl and middle linebacker Bear Woods last week. So this isn’t anything out of the ordinary.
Secondly, the team got an opportunity to look at some of their new receivers during mini-camp last week. As I mentioned in a previous post, B.J. Cunningham, DeVier Posey and Eugene Lewis are locks to make the roster. The Als also want to start one Canadian receiver, so there was only one more spot for an American receiver in the starting lineup. The fourth and fifth receivers often need to contribute on special teams, which is something Jackson hasn’t done over the last few years.
Also, it’s clear that even though he was going to make less money than he did last year, Jackson would’ve been more expensive than any CFL rookie the Als brought to training camp.
Some of the younger receivers on the roster include: Chris Brown, Dante Absher, Zac Parker, Dalton Ponchilla and Jake Wieneke. Speedster T.J. Graham, who has been on the Als roster for parts of the last two seasons, is also an option to start. Graham has questionable hands, but his speed makes him an intriguing option for a team that’s lacking in that area on the offensive side of the ball.
Here’s a list of all the transactions the Alouettes made on Sunday:
(Feature Image Credit: Getty Images)