making a couple of moves today, cutting linebacker Rey Williams and making a deal with the Edmonton Eskimos.
As odd as it sounds to say about a two-time East Division all-star, I'm not really surprised that the Cats let Williams go. He's 32, and while not anywhere near the end age for a linebacker, the team did go out an acquire 24-year-old Simoni Lawrence and 26-year-old Marcellus Bowman in the off-season. Both Lawrence and Bowman have experience playing in the middle, so bringing them in made Williams expendable.
And don't be surprised if this isn't the only change to the linebacking corps. Both Markeith Knowlton and Jamall Johnson have been hampered by injuries the last couple of years, so I won't be shocked if one or both of them are also gone. I don't hope for it – if they are healthy, they are still among the league's elite at their positions – and I most definitely won't like it, but I won't be stunned if the team decides to let them go.
In the trade, the Cats get the rights to non-import defensive lineman Hasan Hamize as well as a 2013 second-round draft pick in exchange for Hamilton's 2013 second- and third-round picks. It's way too early to tell what this trade will accomplish, but one thing you can take from it is that the Cats are going to use a Canadian on the defensive line. The team signed Brian Bulcke and Shomari Williams in free agency, have Marc-Antoine Fortin on the roster from last year, and will hopefully have 2012 draft picks Arnaud Gascon-Nadon and Michael Atkinson in training camp. Add in Hamize and I think it's pretty clear where one of the seven starting Canadians will play.